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- Fri Feb 22, 2008 8:39 pm
Which STDs can be contracted from a toliet seat?
| Debbie Miller, RN
- Sat Feb 23, 2008 6:38 pm
Almost all sexually transmitted infections cannot survive outside the environment of mucous membranes in the body, so it is considered impossible to contract one by sitting on public toilet seats. Viral causes of STIs (as with HIV) cannot survive for long outside the human body either, so generally die quickly on surfaces like toilet seats.
It would require the perfect meshing of factors for anything to survive and infect another person. One of those factors would be an open sore on your buttocks which might come in contact with some infected mucus and that would have to have been deposited immediately before you came in contact with it.
The National Women’s Health Information Center states that, in addition to sexual contact, trichomoniasis can be picked up from contact with damp or moist objects such as toilet seats, if the genital area is in contact with the damp object. But toilet seats do not provide the ideal environment for parasites to live or reproduce. And to become infected, your genital area would have to come in contact with the parasite while it is still on the toilet seat.
Because this scenario is so unlikely, the US government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that STIs, including syphilis, HPV, and HIV, cannot be transmitted via toilet seats.
In light of this information it is reasonable to be sure to wipe off the public toilet seat before sitting on it to be sure there is no dampness or use a paper liner. But the likelihood of contracting a sexually transmitted disease this way is extremely slim. It is highly likely however with sexual encounters so you should put your greatest protective efforts there. This means abstaining from sex or doing it only with a monogamous partner who is not infected. Using a condom will also reduce your risk.
It is also recommended that you get all available vaccines such as Hepatitis and for women HPV since these can also prevent serious and life-long infections.
I hope this answers your questions.