What if I Acceder an HIV Contaminated Bathroom?

A year ago, I started high school. Everything was new: the facilities, the professors and my classmates as well, but the most exciting thing was that feeling that we were big now. 

Soon, however, a problem came up which taught us that we were not as mature as we thought. There was a rumor around the hallways that my classmate Jess, had HIV. Everyone, including myself started giving her hard looks, tried to avoid her, avoid the places where she ate or went to the bathroom.

Obviously, not a lot of time went by before Jess found out that everyone was talking about her, and she decided to take matters into her own hands. First, she spoke with the school supervisor and she organized a meeting with the entire group in order to clarify things. 

How is HIV transmitted? 

Jess spoke in the bravest way I have ever seen in my life. She told us that yes, she does have HIV because she was born with it, but that this did not represent any risk for us. I looked around and saw some expressions of disbelief, but all of that started changing the more our classmate spoke as she, well it has to be said, as she educated us on HIV infection and how it’s transmitted. 

As they had already taught us in school, Jess said that only some bodily fluids are capable of transmitting HIV from one person to another. These fluids are blood, semen, vaginal secretions, rectal secretions and breastmilk. 

How is HIV NOT transmitted? 

However, what is really relevant for school life are the ways in which HIV is not transmitted. For example, the virus cannot live on the skin nor can it live for very long outside the human body. This is why, shaking hands, hugging or sitting next to a person with HIV will not make you get the virus. 

Similarly, saliva does not transmit the infection, so a sneeze or talking very closely (or kissing) someone with HIV is not a risk; neither is eating from the same plate. Something else that sounded strange, though not impossible, was talking about scrapes and spit. Following the same logic, the little blood that emanates from a scrape or the spit of someone with HIV do not transmit the virus. 

Moreover, if urine or feces do not transmit HIV, neither does using a shared bathroom. And, with this, the myths on which rejection towards Jess had been discarded. I won’t say that we all became friends with her at that moment, but I will say that things changed and actual respect was generated around her, definitely a sign of greater maturity than anybody would have thought. 

At AHF, you can get a rapid HIV test, linkage to treatment, free condoms and answers to all your questions. Make an appointment today and get to know us.