In the October 1987
First AIDS report (Box 2396, Vancouver, WA 98558, $69), there appear excerpts
from a publication of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). It's titled
Recommendations for Prevention of HIV Transmission in Health-Care Settings,
and was published 8/21/87. The booklet recommended infection-control procedures
and addressed specific practices in health-care and related fields.
All that follows is
from First AIDS Report:
Under the subheading
"Precautions for Laboratories," the CDC says "Blood and other body fluids
from all patients should be considered infective." And that "laboratory
work surfaces should be decontaminated with an appropriate chemical germicide
after spill of blood or other body fluids..." (Emphasis added.)
We don't want to belabor
the point, but over and over again throughout the entirety of the booklet
you find this very cautious language. Although the AIDS virus is considered
to be primarily a blood borne virus, it has been found in all other body
fluids: tears, sweat, saliva, urine, semen, mucous, etc. It has also been
found in human feces. Therefore, the CDC is telling health-care professionals
to be extremely careful with body fluids as well as blood. This only makes
Now, here's the kicker:
from the Surgeon General's Report on down, the literature that is going
out for public consumption says something quite different. You can look
just about anywhere and the official word coming down to us can be summed
up, in effect, by saying that you absolutely, positively, cannot get AIDS
from toilet seats.
What almost goes without
saying is that toilet seats often have body fluids on them. All kinds
of body fluids: urine, saliva, sweat, sometimes blood and sometimes semen.
And don't forget human feces.
This has caused us
to come to a rather astounding conclusion. See if you can follow our logic:
If these body fluids
are found on hard surfaces in a health-care environment, then it is recommended
that something just short of a blowtorch be used to disinfect the surface
in order to prevent the possible transmission of the AIDS virus.
However, if these
same body fluids are found on a particular kind of hard surface known
as a toilet seat, then there is no need to worry about the possible transmission
of the AIDS virus. So here's the inescapable conclusion: toilet seats
must have some sort of medical, almost magical quality. Evidently, they
somehow have the capacity to kill all sorts of disease-causing viruses.
Hopefully, we've made
our point. We think that we've adequately demonstrated that our US Public
Health Service has been talking out of both sides of its mouth.
We're NOT saying you
can, in fact, get AIDS from toilet seats. All we're saying is that it
seems just a little inconsistent to treat the matter in such a commendable,
sober, cautious way when it comes to the health-care setting and then,
when it comes to the general public, to treat the matter as though there
were absolutely no potential dangers at all. Why is it that the general
public is handled in such a different matter?
BETTER SAFE THAN