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Blood on hand/toilet paper
Jan 9, 2012

was in a restaurant bathroom in Italy recently-very nice, very small place and very clean otherwise-and there was some blood on the toilet seat. I needed to go, so I wiped it off with plenty of toilet paper. I didn't worry about it at the time as I was pretty sure 1) I didn't get any on my hands in the first place and 2) I didn't have any open wounds-my hands were pretty chapped and sore from the cold but I had a good look and didn't see any bleeding.

Afterwards I started to worry though that I could have gotten a tiny amount of blood on my hands I didn't notice, then perhaps gotten it on the fresh toilet paper I used to wipe myself with after peeing. Again, I didn't see any blood on my hands or the paper. The blood wasn't dry-most of it was under the seat so I guess harder to dry- but no-one was in the bathroom or leaving it right before me so I guess it had been there for at least a few minutes. Do you think there is any risk if I'd gotten a small amount of blood on my hand and transferred it to the paper I wiped with? I didn't see anything on the paper

Response from Dr. Hightow-Weidman

I think you can breath a sigh of relief- the incident you describe is not significant for any possible HIV exposure. 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. I see no way any blood from the seat made it into contact with any of your mucous membranes. Also, 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. Hope this helps and you enjoy your time in Italy!

Take Care,

LHW



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