Sexually transmitted diseases are nasty infections that spread mainly through unprotected sexual intercourse. However, many people are concerned that they might contract an STD simply by using a public toilet.
While it may be theoretically possible to contract an STD just by using a public toilet, this theory does not hold much ground. Contracting an STD from a public toilet would require a perfect scenario to be set up – a scenario that would be too impractical to happen in real life. At least two conditions would have to be met for a person to get an STD from a public toilet: 1) the STD-causing agent would have to survive in a public toilet, and 2) a person would have to come into contact with this pathogen at just the right position for them to acquire it.
However, before a concrete judgment can be passed concerning whether or not a person can acquire an STD from a public toilet seat, it is worth exploring what acquiring an STD from a public toilet would entail.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO GET AN STD FROM A TOILET SEAT?
While it may sound theoretically possible to acquire an STD from a public toilet because, like unprotected sexual intercourse, unprotected genitals are also involved in this scenario, however, it is very unlikely because it would require a perfectly-curated scenario to unravel – a scenario too impractical to happen in real life.
As discussed before, at least two conditions will have to be met before a person would acquire an STD from a public toilet seat. These conditions are:
- The disease-causing pathogen would have to survive on the toilet seat
- And the person would have to come into contact with the pathogen at just the right angle
If an STD-causing pathogen cannot survive outside the human body, it is highly unlikely that it would pose any threat on a public toilet seat. Moreover, a pathogen would also have the ability to grab on or latch on to the person using the public toilet. Also, if the person does not come into contact with the pathogen while sitting on the toilet seat, it would be highly unlikely that they would acquire an STD from the public toilet seat.
WHY STD TRANSMISSION FROM PUBLIC TOILETS IS IMPOSSIBLE?
Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are caused by several pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Naturally, for anyone to acquire an STD from a public toilet seat, an STD-causing pathogen would have to survive on the toilet seat.
Bacteria that cause STDs usually only survive on mucosal surfaces inside the oral cavity or in or around the genitals. Most STD-causing bacteria cannot survive outside the human body without a proper mucous surface for it to inhabit. It would be very hard for bacterial STDs to spread through public toilets because the disease-causing agent would have no chance of survival.
Similarly, most STD-causing viruses only survive inside the human body by overtaking the body's protein-formation mechanism. These viruses quickly replicate by hi-jacking human cells' DNA and using the cell's resources for their growth. Naturally, these viruses would not find such support on a toilet seat, and it would be impossible for them to survive on a public toilet.
Parasites are the only disease-causing agents which can theoretically survive on a public toilet seat. Parasites that cause trichomoniasis can spread through unprotected sexual intercourse and by simply coming into contact with another person's clothing or bedsheets. However, even these parasites do not live long enough to be a threat on a public toilet seat.
A perfect scenario would have to be created in which the parasite is deposited onto the toilet seat right before a person decides to sit down in a perfect position. Otherwise, the parasite would not come into contact with the person's genitals and pose no harm.
While it may seem likely that a person would be able to acquire an STD from a public toilet, the scenario is too impractical to happen in real life. Most STD-causing pathogens cannot survive outside mucosal surfaces. Those who survive outside mucosal surfaces would find it very difficult to reproduce on a public toilet seat and would, therefore, not last long.
Another problem is that a person would have to come into contact with a pathogen on a public toilet seat just the right way. They would either have to have an open wound on their skin which would allow the pathogen to get into their bloodstream, or the pathogen would have to come in direct contact with their genital skin and survive there for long enough to cause an infection.
Therefore, it is highly unlikely that a person would ever acquire an STD from a public toilet seat.