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mexican toilet water
Apr 3, 2003

Dear Robert, I hope you have time to answer this question it has given me a tremendous amount of anxiety. This summer in Mexico I unfortunately drank way too much tequila and was told the next day by someone that i "was gargeling toilet water" and that they found me in the bathroom with my head in the toilet they then proceeded to pick me up and throw me out on the street. I woke up when i landed on the street and stumbled home. My anxiey of course is centered around having my head in the toilet. This was the first time i ever blacked out on alcohol so my imagination is running wild. I know from eveything i read that HIV is not transmitted via toilets but what if i ingested fluids from a toilet would that change anything. I got tested for HIV at planned parenthood 50 days after the incident which was negative. The counselor told me that she did not think that i needed any further testing. I then got tested for hepatitus A, B, and C which were all negative at 5 months. I was told by my physician that there was nothing to worry about and she thought the story was funny and that her husband had a night like that in mexico as well. I'm sure i am not the first person to have a night like this in mexico involving tequila. My first question is how long would an infectious fluid survive on a toilet seat or in toilet water. Secondly when people say direct does that mean directly from one person to the other. I would also like to know what test generation are the elisa's used by planned parenthood, and finally is this considered a no risk incident. Thank you for your time and the service you provide. I really beleive if there was no such thing as the internet i would not still be thinking about this. Thanks again

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Well, I dont know if Id call "gargling toilet water" after blacking out from too much tequila in Mexico exactly a "no-risk incident." Id say its fairly risky, but not for HIV. Luckily, your tests for hepatitis A, B, and C are negative. By the way, there are very good vaccines to protect you against hepatitis A and B. As for HIV, your risk is extremely low. Your 50-day test is encouraging; however, in general, a 3-month test is required to rule out infection after a possible exposure. Youre mistaking the Mexican toilet bowl water for Listerine does not qualify as an exposure. Im amazed you didnt get diarrhea. Most folks get Montezumas Revenge just from crossing the border, let alone doing a swan dive into the tidy bowl. You must be one lucky guy.

As for your specific questions, HIV doesnt live long outside the body (or in Mexican toilet bowls). There are no scientific studies to say exactly how many seconds it would survive under those conditions. (Cant imagine why someone hasnt wanted to fund that clinical study yet.) As for what generation test your planned parenthood is using, how would I know? Im not a clairvoyant. Call them and ask them. Finally, regarding risk, well, you might want to talk to someone about your alcohol intake if you are getting to the blackout stage. Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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