Nothing like Toilet Infections
There’s nothing worse than desperately needing to go to the toilet when the only option is a public toilet. Your heart beats faster, thinking about the thousands of microbes disease-causing germs that are presumably crawling all over the toilet seat waiting for you. Lolz
This has been a common fear among people that Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) can be passed in public places, such as through contact with toilet seats. While it is theoretically possible that some STIs could be passed from person-to-person via a public toilet seat, it is extremely unlikely that you will become infected in this manner.
But can you catch a sexually transmitted infection (STI), from a toilet seat?
No, you can’t, according to sexual health expert, because even if the bacteria and viruses that can cause STI got onto the seat, they can’t survive for long after leaving the human body.
What are Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)?
STI is an infection that is passed from one person to another person through sexual contact. As their name suggests, STIs are commonly spread through sexual activity, including intercourse, oral sex and, in the case of some diseases such as genital warts, direct skin-to-skin contact.
A person can have STI without having noticeable symptoms of the disease. Some Sexually Transmitted Infections are known to be spread through non-sexual means such as via blood or blood products. Many STIs including syphilis, hepatitis B, HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes, and HPV can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy and childbirth.
There are more than 30 different bacteria, viruses and parasites known to be transmitted through sexual contact. Eight of these pathogens are linked to the incidence of sexually transmitted disease. Of these 8 infections, 4 are currently curable: syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis.
The other 4 are incurable viral infections: hepatitis B, herpes simplex virus (HSV or herpes), HIV, and human papillomavirus (HPV). Symptoms or disease due to the incurable viral infections can be reduced or modified through treatment.
Every type of STIs is spread differently. Bacterial STIs live in mucous membranes (membranes of the vagina, penis, rectum, and mouth) and are can only be transmitted through direct contact with these infected membranes.
Viruses may exist outside of mucous membranes (in the porous skin surrounding the genitals). But, in the case of hepatitis and HIV, these viruses do not readily pass through intact skin.
Finally, parasites are usually spread during sexual contact, but can also be spread through contact with an infected person’s clothing, bed linens, or towels.
The only type of Sexually Transmitted Infections that has a reasonable chance of being passed from person-to-person via a public toilet seat is a parasitic STI. 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.
It is highly unlikely that you will become infected with a Sexually Transmitted Infection through contact with a toilet seat. Since bacterial STIs cannot survive outside the environment of mucous membranes in the body, it is impossible to contract one by sitting on public toilet seats. Viral causes of STIs cannot survive for long outside the human body either, so they generally die quickly on surfaces like toilet seats.
And in the case of HIV, any surviving virus on a toilet seat would be unable to reach your bloodstream unless you had an open wound that made direct contact with the virus on the toilet seat, a highly unlikely prospect.
To contract an STI from a contaminated toilet seat, there must be a “distinct plot” The virus from an infected person would have to be deposited onto the toilet seat instantly before you sat on it, live, and be positioned in the exact place for transmission to take place. Because this scenario is so unlikely, STIs cannot be transmitted via toilet seats.
Though taking some precautions while using a public toilet isn’t hard. If you use a public restroom, it is wise to wipe off the toilet seat and cover it with toilet paper before sitting down. Wash your hand in running water after use, and if possible, apply hand sanitizer. Remember, you cannot be overprotective!