STDs: An Alarming Lack of Knowledge

November 1, 2019

One third of Americans think that they can contract an STD from sitting on a public toilet, according to a new study commissioned by LetsGetChecked for Sexual Health Awareness Month that has pointed out the alarming lack of knowledge when it comes to STDs.


Sexually transmitted diseases are not a popular topic, but perhaps if it were talked about more it wouldn’t be a taboo and rates may finally decrease due to an increase in knowledge. A survey conducted by OnePoll of 2,000 sexually active Americans highlights how misinformed a large part of the public is when it comes to STDs. 


The survey reveals that many people incorrectly think that they can contract an STD from using a public toilet, as one third of the participants reported they thought they can get an STD from using a dirty public toilet. 22% incorrectly think they can contract an STD through simple physical contact, and 24% wrongly report that they think they can contract an STD by sharing a glass of water with a person who has an STD. 


63% couldn’t even identify that gonorrhea is a common STD, only 48% could name herpes, and only 42% could name chlamydia. Humorously 28% identified claphytis as being an STD, and 21% identified strenedia as being an STD, both of which are made up non-existent words let alone a medical condition. 


26% of the respondents incorrectly believe that using 2 condoms will double protection against STDs, and 36% reported that they think a condom will protect against all STDs. What may be the most shocking was that 1 in 5 erroneously reported that they can “just tell” if someone had an STD by looking at them, and 3 in 10 reported they don’t think it is necessary to get tested unless they have symptoms.


Alarmingly despite the obvious lack of knowledge and confusion 81% of the sexually active respondents reported that they still considered themselves to be knowledgeable about sexual health, which is the exact opposite to what the findings indicate.


Perhaps education needs to be addressed as only 52% of the respondents report taking sexual education in school, and of those the education focussed on abstinence only teachings in 53% of those receiving sexual education. 


“Taking responsibility for your sexual health is so important, not just for you, but for your partner(s),” says Dr. Robert Mordkin, Chief Medical Officer of LetsGetChecked.


“Better education is needed around STDs and the serious, long-term consequences that may occur if they are left untreated. In the absence of sufficient sex education, people need to work to educate themselves and attend regular sexual health screenings,” Dr. Mordkin adds.


So among all this mystifying lack of sexual knowledge how careful are Americans before a new sexual experience? According to recent stats, not very at all as STDs rates continue to increase to actually set a new record in America. This study suggests that Americans need to take further steps to protect themselves but among the respondents in a relationship 24% rarely or never discuss STDs with a new partner before becoming sexually active; and when asked why not 43% reported it was too uncomfortable and 34% just didn’t want to ruin the mood. 


According to this study 48% of the respondents didn’t know how often they should be tested, and 19% report never being tested at all. Among the 53% who reported being tested within the last year 23% were uncomfortable with the testing process, and 24% were concerned over what the results may reveal.


55% report they would appreciate professional help to understand their results, and 48% would like a doctor to be available to discuss treatment options, and 52% would be more open to testing if it could take place from within their homes. 


Come on America if you are mature enough to have sex you should be mature enough to talk about it and obtain the proper education. If you are not responsible enough to do this it is more than enough proof that you are not mature enough to have sex, period.  



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