Is contracting STDs from the toilet bowl a myth?

There is nothing more unpleasant than having an urgent need to go to the toilet, but the only possible option is to use a public toilet.

You hold your breath and try not to even think about all those diseases you’ve heard about. You imagine how the toilet bowl will instantly infect you with chlamydia, syphilis or gonorrhea.

But is it really possible to catch an STD from a public toilet?

According to sexual health expert Professor Donovan, the answer is no. Because even if a bacteria causing a sexually transmitted disease gets on the toilet bowl, it cannot survive for a long time outside the human body.

As the name suggests, these diseases are transmitted through sexual contact (all types of sexual contact) between people, not through toilet seats.

There is nothing supernatural about these diseases. These are common viruses and bacteria that cannot survive for long in a dry and warm environment. Most of these organisms that scare us so much are quite fragile and die very quickly after drying out. Most often this happens after a few minutes.

What are the theoretical risks?

Let’s assume that enough disease-causing organisms survive on the toilet bowl. In this case, is it possible to catch some kind of infection?

Again, according to Professor Donovan, the likelihood is very small because no part of the body that is truly susceptible to infection with sexually transmitted infections comes into contact with the toilet bowl.

Viruses that cause warts are also not a threat because they are only dangerous if there is some kind of injury or tear in the skin and if they get into that exact spot. The professor says that on healthy skin, wart viruses are helpless.

Of course, if you have a buttock sore and the skin’s integrity is broken, it’s practically possible to contract a sexually transmitted disease if disease-causing bacteria gets into the injured area.

However, the professor does not fail to note again that in all the years of his career, he has never suspected a toilet bowl as a source of infection when his patient contracted a sexually transmitted disease.

The likelihood of contracting a urinary tract infection is also negligible because they never come into contact with the toilet bowl.

So if we can’t catch a sexually transmitted disease, where does the myth of this come from?

The truth is that doctors are not entirely innocent in spreading this paranoia. For example, in the 19th century, doctors massively tried to mask sexually transmitted diseases by claiming that they were also transmitted through toilet bowls.

Absurd claims have even been made that a person can contract syphilis through drinking fountains that have touched the cup of a person infected with syphilis.

Such a moment is thorough hand washing and drying after visiting the toilet. This will reduce the chance of spreading other diseases, for example rotaviruses which cause intestinal infections and can indeed be transmitted very easily if good hand hygiene is not followed.

Professor Donovan says we shouldn’t touch our face with dirty hands from the toilet before and while washing them. He also says that the washing should be very thorough and then any moisture should be dried from them.

If you don’t dry your hands well after using the toilet, you are doing a disservice to anyone who enters after you, because you create good conditions for bacteria and viruses to multiply. In this order of thinks drying hands is just as important, and sometimes even more important, than thorough washing.

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