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Bus Toilet Splashback
Jan 31, 2006

Dr. Frascino:

My girlfriend and I are travelling in South America for another six months, and have already been here for about two. Needless to say, we are taking alot of long bus trips, and this past saturday night was no exception. This overnight bus trip, however, was quite unpleasant for the experience I will now describe: At about one in the morning, my girlfriend had to use the restroom at the rear of the bus. Being half asleep, I was startled when she came back in tears. While she was hovering above the seat (not wanting to sit on it to begin with...) she began to use the toilet and after a few moments realized that the back of her legs and behind were quite wet. She panicked a bit, and because there was no running water or toilet tissue in the bathroom, she was forced to pull up her pants over her wet rear end. She told me there was a warm stream of air coming out of the hole in the bottom of the toilet, and she wasnt sure if it was her own urine blowing back up at her, or possibly something coming up from the reservoir tank below during the turbulence of the bus ride. We had some antibacterial face wipes with us that she used to wipe herself off after, and she also removed her damp underwear, but she was forced to keep on her pants for the remainder of the bus trip (8 hours). I never throught I would say that I hope my girlfriend peed her pants but in this circumstance that is exactly my wish. If, however, the wetness did come from the bowl underneath, would there be any chance she could contract HIV or any other sexually transmitted disease? If we were back in the US I would be pretty confident in saying no, as most toilet reservoirs have a whole concoction of chemicals in them, but I kind of doubt that is the case here in Peru. Thank you for your advice. A concerned traveler...

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Bus toilet splash back?!? Ick! Glad I wasn't reading this question before dinner.

As for acquiring an STD (including HIV) from this unfortunate incident, I believe you have nothing to be concerned about, even in Peru. Don't let unnecessary worry spoil the rest of your trip. And don't miss Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires during your travels. They are two of my favorite cities.

Bon voyage!

Dr. Bob



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