1/3 of Americans Think a Toilet Can Spread STDs

A third of Americans incorrectly believe you can get a sexually-transmitted disease (STD) from a public toilet seat, according to new research. A survey of 2,000 sexually-active Americans regarding their sexual health knowledge illustrated that the majority of respondents need a crash course on the topic of sexual health. When asked about the ways people can contract an STD, a fifth (22 percent) mistakenly believed incidental physical contact was enough, while 24 percent erroneously thought you could get an STD from sharing a glass of water with someone who's infected. But that's not all respondents got wrong about STDs: They were also unable to identify the common diseases. While 63 percent correctly identified gonorrhea as an STD, less than half recognized herpes (48 percent) or chlamydia (42 percent). Twenty-eight percent identified "claphytis" as an STD, while 21 percent did the same for "strenedia" - when in actuality, both are made-up words. Commissioned by LetsGetChecked and conducted by OnePoll in advance of Sexual Health Awareness Month, the survey found that 81 percent of respondents believed themselves to be knowledgeable about sexual health, but the results weren't there to back them up. Some of this misinformation might be the result of a lack of sexual education in school: Only half (52 percent) of respondents remember receiving sex ed - but of those, 53 percent say it was "abstinence-only." A quarter (26 percent) incorrectly thought two condoms provide double the protection from STDs, while 36 percent wrongly believed wearing a condom protects against all STDs. A fifth (21 percent) of respondents mistakenly thought you could tell if someone had an STD just by looking at them and three in 10 incorrectly believed they don't need to be tested for STDs unless they have symptoms. "Taking responsibility for your sexual health is so important, not just for you, but for your partner(s)," said Chief Medical Officer of LetsGetChecked, Dr. Robert Mordkin. "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." This lack of knowledge has serious consequences, since Americans aren't taking the proper steps to ensure they're having safe sex. Of those who aren't in a committed relationship, 24 percent "rarely" or "never" speak to a new partner about their STD status or the last time they were tested before having sex for the first time. For those who aren't likely to speak to a new partner about STDs, the top reason was because it can be uncomfortable to bring up (43 percent), while others worry about "ruining the mood" (34 percent). Forty-eight percent of respondents don't know how often they should be tested for an STD - and a fifth (19 percent) say they've never been tested. For those who haven't been tested in the last year (53 percent), 23 percent said they're uncomfortable being tested, and 24 percent worried about what the results might show. "The increasing epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S. and further afield highlights the need for more screening," continued Dr. Robert Mordkin says. "That's where we come in, with LetsGetChecked, people have the ability to test their sexual health status from home. We are passionate about making screening more accessible to our customers." Luckily, there are a variety of things respondents say would make them feel more comfortable when being tested. This includes having health care professionals available to help them understand the results (55 percent) and explain treatment options (48 percent), as well as being tested in their own home (52 percent).