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National Cervical Cancer Coalition


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 Post subject: Toilet seat transmission
PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 1:15 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:54 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Chicago
Hello all! I'm so grateful for this forum!
I have GW. And I have Crohn's. So, that means I go to the bathroom 10-20 times a day. When I sit down, my genital area presses against the front of the toilet seat. Whenever I use someone else's bathroom I wipe the seat to disinfect it. Then I am real careful to wash my hands thoroughly. Then sometimes I disinfect the faucet handles and soap dispenser. I know this seems like overkill but I feel like I have to because after I go to the bathroom and then wipe I am coming in contact with the GW with my hand. Then I feel like everything I touch immediately afterwards will have the virus on it. So, I am very very careful with this and its been tough because of how often I go to the bathroom. Here's the problem....
I am getting a roommate soon because of a financial hardship, and we will be sharing a bathroom. I wake up 4-5 times a night to go to the bathroom. My life will be so hard if I have to go through this ritual every time. Its always been just me so I haven't worried about disinfecting everything after I go, I just wash my hands and go back to sleep. But now its different. I will not be able to feel comfortable without going through my ritual.
I know a lot of posts on here talk about transmission but what bothers me is the answers usually include "its not likely" or "its rare to catch it that way" or " it has to be skin to skin contact". Well, I need to know for sure or my life is going to be extremely hard. Because the way my mind works is that if you can get it skin to skin then you can get it if you share a toilet seat and both of your genitals press against the same area. I have seen several Dermatologists over the years trying to answer this question to no avail. I've never been too worried about what HPV will do to me, but I am extremely worried about transmitting it. I know this may all sound a little OCD but to me, it seems like a valid concern.
Please help me figure this out! I would greatly appreciate it :)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:57 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:08 pm
Posts: 2122
Location: North Carolina
Hi there,

Thanks for your post, and your concerns are shared by many who contact us. One reason you can't receive a definitive "yes or no" answer is that no one has really studied toilet seats and HPV transmission specifically, so it's hard to speak in absolutes. It's hard to see how routine toilet/bathroom use poses much of a risk, though. If this were a common means of transmission, you'd see virtually everyone who uses toilets at schools and malls at risk. Imagine what that would mean for, say, schools and colleges, which are filled with people in the age groups where HPV is the most common. We don't see an epidemic of warts there.

I can't tell you there is no risk, of course, and such a declaration is probably the only thing that would make you rest easier. There are no routine precautions I've seen any major public health organization recommend regarding HPV and bathrooms. One thing might be not to let a roommate use a towel or washcloth after you've used them directly on an area that has warts. I stress that even were this to occur, the risk is ONLY theoretical and probably low, low, low. If it'd make you feel better, maybe just wipe down the toilet seat (not the entire tank/bowl) after you use it. Probably no need at all to worry about the sink, faucet, handles, or doorknobs. I stress again, there is likely no need for concern re: HPV even if you never clean another toilet in your life!!

I hope this helps!

Best,
Fredo

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ASHA Moderator


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:56 am 

Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:24 am
Posts: 31
Location: Asia
Thanks to the both of you, I have 'solved' another mystery. I was worried because I was going to the restroom and they had no soap! So I went to the toilet at the next floor to wash my hands to ensure that I do not spread the warts. On the way down, I opened doors and walked down a flight of stairs and held the railing. All this while thinking what horror I might have brought because the toilet doesn't have any soap. I'm grateful you responded to this, Fredo. I'm glad this question is being asked too, now I feel less of a threat at home.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:23 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:54 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Chicago
Thank you for replying. I can definitely see how there is not a huge threat with toilet seat transmission because then there would be many more cases of HPV due to public restrooms.
Especially in dorms, like you said. This information should help me feel better but I am totally over analyzing the situation. I may be a lost cause because I am OCD-ing this. Its just that this is an STD that even condoms can't totally protect against. And then you read all kinds of things online about how long the virus can survive on inanimate objects or you read how the virus can live under your fingernails! Thats scary! I hate to sound weird(er) :lol: but I now use a nail brush a lot and avoid itching my friends little puppy. How sad, right. I'm really just venting here so thanks for listening. I will admit that I've gone a little crazy with this disease since I got it. In fact, all five dermatologists I've seen have treated me like I'm a little mental for asking all of these questions. I just want to prevent transmission, thats all.
I was actually fine for a while after a dermatologist told me "Listen, the world is an unsanitary place." What I took from that was that everything in the world is unclean on a microscopic level, and I am personally not going to affect that. BUT then I found a new wart and I was back to being a worry wart :wink:
To sum it up, I guess I just want to know what one is supposed to do to be a responsible infected person. Especially one that uses toilets as much as me :oops:


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