Jun 10, 2002
Recently I used a public toilet and did not wash my hands afterwards. Later I had picked my nose and caused it to bleed. Is it possible to contract HIV or any other diseaes this way, or am I being overly concerned about nothing. If I had contracted something like HIV, how long and what would be the first symptoms.
Response from Mr. Kull
Transmission of HIV is only possible if HIV infected FLUIDS (blood, semen, vaginal secretions) come into contact with MUCOUS MEMBRANES (the lining of the vagina, rectum, mouth, urethra) or directly with your BLOODSTREAM. Skin is a barrier to HIV.
It's important to remember that HIV is only known to be transmitted through the following three ways:
1) Sexual contact: anal, vaginal, and oral sex
2) Blood-to-blood contact: sharing injection needles, occupational exposures, blood transfusions (which is rare in the U.S.). This does not include coming into contact with a toilet seat.
3) Mother-to-infant: either through delivery or during breast feeding
One of the main reasons that HIV is not transmitted through contact with objects in the environment is that HIV does not survive in the environment long, outside of a human host. Scientists found that drying fluids containing very high concentrations of HIV(concentrations that are not normally encountered in day-to-day life) reduced the number of infectious virus by 90% to 99%. It is safe to say, based on these laboratory studies, that HIV would become uninfectious realitively quickly when exposed to the environment, making transmission through indirect contact with another person's fluids remote.
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