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Can I get an STI from a toilet?

Ian just discovered that his new girlfriend Neema has Chlamydia. They’ve never had sex. She says that she must have caught it from a toilet seat. Is this even possible?

This is a question that bothers many people especially women using public toilets. Women are more worried as they have a more open genital tract.

Ian’s girlfriend was adamant that she had not been sexually active for a year and must have caught Chlamydia from a toilet seat. She works in Nakuru town and her only option to toilets are the public ones. She says she knows many other people who have caught STIs this way.

When they visited the doctor together for treatment, Ian decided to confirm from his doctor whether it was possible to get any Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) from a toilet seat. The doctor pointed out that most STIs are caught through various forms of sexual and physical contact. His girlfriend was either misinformed or lying to him. STIs can be caused by parasites, bacteria, or viruses. All these germs can’t thrive for a long time on a hard surface such as toilet seats.

If you are using a pit latrine, you are safe as well. 

Fact: it is highly unlikely to catch an STI from a toilet seat.

This, however, doesn’t mean that one should take chances with unhygienic and dirty toilets. Other stubborn infections may get into the body by sitting on dirty toilet seats. Many women, in trying to avoid catching an STI, end up squatting. Yet, sitting on a toilet avoids the nuisance of sprinkling the toilet seat with urine. If it’s catching an STI you are avoiding by not sitting on a toilet seat, the chances are extremely low.

It is important to note that even if you cannot get an STI from the toilet seat, some germs can be transferred through a woman’s urethra through a sore or cut on the thighs and buttocks.

How STIs are transmitted

There are many types of STIs. Transmission varies from one type to another. While some STIs are transmitted through sexual activities others are transmitted through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. Sexual activities include oral, anal, or vaginal sex.

Bacteria STIs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis cannot survive on hard surfaces or in the air. Viral STIs only survive for a while on surfaces. It is, therefore, unlikely to get any of these types of STIs from a toilet seat.

When using a public toilet take hygienic precautions such as wiping off the toilet seat or covering the rim with toilet paper before using it. This will help you not to catch other infections.

Have you ever caught an STI from a toilet seat?

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LoveMatters Africa

Blush-free facts and stories about love, sex, and relationships