STDs Expert Forum
STDs and trying on bathing suits
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The STD Forum is intended only for questions and support pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital warts, trichomonas, other vaginal infections, nongonoccal urethritis (NGU), cervicitis, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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STDs and trying on bathing suits

Hello,

My 13 year old daughter removed her underwear before trying on a women's bathing suit at a local store.  Can STDs be transmitted this way?  

I wouldn't be so concerned if it was a child's bathing suit but it was a women's suit with the plasic "for you protection" sticker in the crotch area.

Thank you
300980_tn?1194933000
Welcome to our Forum.  There is no risk at all of your daughter catching any STD, including HIV from trying on a bathing suit that someone else might have tried on before her.  There are numerous reasons for this.  they include:

1.  It is statistically unlikely that IF someone had tried on the suit before her that they had HIV.
2.  If somehow a person with HIV had tried it on, HIV and other agents of STD are damaged when they leave the body and are exposed to the environment.  The change in temperature and drying effect of environmental exposure act to immediately damage and then kill bacteria and viruses.  Even if not dead, the damaged microbes do not cause infection.
3.  Microbes had a tendency to "stick" to material fibers, thus if the organisms were present from whomever tried the suit on before your daughter,  they would be more likely to stay on the material than be transferred to your daughter.  
4.  Experientially, there has never been a case when someone has acquired any STD, including HIV through contact with material which contained genital secretions- transmission required direct, skin-to-skin contact

I would not worry about this event.  There is no reason for concern and no reason to consider testing.

I hope this comment is helpful to you.  EWH
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Thank you very much for your thorough answer, it helps ease my concern a great deal.  

Just one follow up question...you mentioned HIV but not the Hepatitis viruses.  Is there a concern if there may have been menstrual blood that it may be transmitted this way?  The suit was black so it was very difficult to see any stains.  A lot more "IFs" but I would love to hear more facts and info on the hepatitis viruses.  

Thank you so much
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300980_tn?1194933000
No, there would be no risk for hepatitis from such an exposure either. The only form of hepatitis that might be transmitted in genital secretions or blood on a bathing suit would be hepatitis B. Presumably your daughter has been vaccinated for this (hepatitis B vaccine has been recommended for all children born in the U.S. for over 20 years) and even is she has not there are no reports of transmission in this way.  Hepatitis C is acquired only through introduction of the infected material deep into tissue, below the skin and hepatitis A is transmitted only through ingestion of the virus through the mouth.

I hope this information is helpful. EWH
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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