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How can I get an STD from a toilet seat or a hot tub?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
One of the most enduring urban legends concerns getting a sexually transmitted disease from a toilet seat or a hot tub. But can that really happen? "Do not worry about the toilet seat," Dr. Oz, Vice-Chair and Professor of Surgery at Columbia University, says. "No one catches STDs on toilet seats."

So what could you get from a toilet seat? "You can theoretically catch some bacteria that can bother your skin," Dr. Oz says, "but toilet seats are a relatively safe place because they're inert, they're just a plastic covering. Here's what the reality is: We're living with bacteria; we're alive because of bacteria; we ought to get comfortable with the fact that we live in a dangerous world and what we really want to do is make sure that our immune systems are ready to do battle. As long as you're able to protect yourself, then you're okay sitting on any toilet seat you want."

Catching something in a hot tub is "more possible…because often the hot tubs aren't kept clean," Dr. Oz says. "People have bodily secretions that they're sweating or leaving in the hot tub and you're hopping right into it. That's a place that I don't like to hang out too much."

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.