STD Transmission Rate So Low On Toilet Seats

April 24, 2019
by John Kelly, MD
STD Transmission Rate So Low On Toilet Seats

Can you catch an STD from a toilet seat?

One of the first lessons little girls learn from their mother is to never sit directly on a toilet seat. Instead, they are supposed to squat due to the lurking germs left behind on the seat. Believe it or not, there’s no chance of someone getting an STD from sitting on a public toilet seat.

According to Christine Greves, an ob-gyn doctor at the Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies, there’s a minuscule chance of catching an STD in this way, but it’s so small that no one should be worrying about it.

She said STDs don’t typically live outside the human body, and the seat itself isn’t the kind of environment for the viruses and bacteria to survive on. She said STDs can’t survive more than 10 seconds on a seat. Greves said STDs need human tissue and fluids to proliferate – something cold toilet seats cannot provide them.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the herpes virus will die rapidly outside the human body, which means getting the infection through contacts of objects such as toilets and towels is small. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said this is also the same for other STDs such as HIV, syphilis and pubic lice.

Greves said the fear of catching an STD is the reason for the squatting, but there’s no reason to do that at all. She said it’s all mental. While it doesn’t protect people from an infection, it can offer people some mental relief from all the germs that could have been on the seat.

Doctors advise everybody to wash their hands with warm water and soap each time they visit the bathroom. A person can pick up bacteria from a toilet flusher, door lock and other places that can then be transferred to a person’s mouth or eyes and cause an infection.


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