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What are the chances of getting STD by using common bathroom?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 2272 Questions
I have a serious fear of HIV. Married for 30 + years to my dear wife in a totally monogamous marriage.
My question has nothing to do with sex.
In a public toilet a woman washed her hands in a sink maybe a minute before me. I then washed my hands using my left hand only to to turn the faucet handles. I had blown my nose prior to this and so i took some kleenex, wet it under the faucet with my right hand and proceeded to quickly wash inside my right nostril but without thinking I switched the wet kleenex to my left hand (which had turned the faucet handle) and with the kleenex over my finger quicklly wiped the inside of my left nostril but my finger slightly protruded through the wet kleenex. Hence (in my mind) skin to mucous membrane contact.........BINGO!! Possible contamination with HIV?? Or am I way over the top? You can see my obsessive thought pattern. I would like you to say "You have absolutely nothing to worry about". but
you may or may not be able to say that. I know not that if a woman wiped after urinating if vaginal fluid could even get to the faucet handle and if so would the virus still be viable to infect.

Posted Thu, 26 Jul 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Ram Choudhary 35 minutes later
The one word answer to your detailed query is "NO".
There is no chance of getting HIV infection by that trajectory.
Actually HIV is a dreaded disease due to it's relentless downhill clinical course and certainly not because it's efficient in spreading.
The HIV virus is a very fragile virus and would not survive for 10 seconds in inanimate environment, that is the reason fomites are not very strong portal of spread of this virus.
So you need not worry for HIV but surely you may get other infections like Hepatitis, Bacterial infection, conjuctivitis etc. by such methods.
So healthy habits should be cultivated and one should be watchful in day to day life to avoid unnecessary troubles.
I hope that will mitigate your anxiety.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What are the chances of getting STD by using common bathroom? 17 minutes later
Thank you Dr. for your very concise and knowledgable answer. It really helps me.
Would the same answer apply under the same circumstances for the STDs syphilis,
gonorrhea, and chlamydia?
Answered by Dr. Ram Choudhary 32 minutes later
Welcome back!
Thanks for appreciating me.
All the three agents are bacteria as I described to answer your first query;
there is real risk of getting these infection by direct contacts, fomites, unprotected sexual exposure, including the situation you have described.
All of them produce symptoms mostly 1 to 10 days, if so then please get evaluated by your physician and get investigated.
I hope that answers yours query.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What are the chances of getting STD by using common bathroom? 20 hours later
I turned on a sink faucet in a public bathroom about a minute after a woman
used it. I then wet some kleenex around a finger (finger which touched the faucet handle) and wiped the inside of my left nostril up to the mucous membrane. In doing so my finger slightly came through the kleenex. Dr. Choudhary who answered on this forum indicated that I was in no danger of HIV BUT because syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia are bacteria pathogens, I might have been exposed to these STDS. I wanted to ask if you feel that this was a legitimate exposure. I was of the opinion that this exposure would have been so remote for syphilis , gonorrhea and chlamydia as to be considered virtually no exposure at all. One more thing please. If I waited for the "window" periods to pass for the STDS mentioned,(syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia) should a negative NAAT URINE specimen DNA/SDA amplified DNA test put my mind at rest for gonorrhea and chlamydia and a negative VDRL test for syphilis do the same. This obsessive thought is really wearing on me.
Answered by Dr. Ram Choudhary 11 hours later
Welcome back,
Yes, with a review with a physician and a negative results for the afore mentioned causes would rule out the infections reasonably, and you can have mental peace.
You can have mental peace right now because Every exposure does not result in infection.
I hope that answers yours query.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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