Women holding Magnifying glass focusing the text Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

Survey Says Americans Have Misperceptions About STDs

A survey of 2,000 sexually active Americans has found that many Americans have misperceptions about STDs. One of many being that you can get one from a public toilet seat. Of those 2,000 surveyed by OnePoll, 34% believed this to be true.

“To my knowledge, no one has ever acquired an STD on the toilet seat — unless they were having sex on the toilet seat!” Abigail Salyers, PhD and president of the American Society for Microbiology told WebMD.

Twenty-four percent said they believed that STDs can be transmitted by sharing a drinking glass with an infected person.

Some believe that you can contract a STD by shaking someone’s hand, or by simple contact.

Twenty-two percent of those surveyed incorrectly thought wearing two condoms would double their protection from STDs, according to SWNS, and 36% said wearing just one condom would fully protect them from an STD.

81% of those polled believe they are knowledgeable about sexual health, yet only 53% recall taking sex education classes in school.

Other notable findings:

  • 53% say they haven’t been tested for an STD in the past year; 23% of those say they are uncomfortable being tested and 24% say they were worried about what the results might show.
  • 19% say they’ve never been tested for an STD.
  • 24% say they rarely or never talk to a new partner about their STD status or the last time they were tested before they have sex; 43% of those say the main reason is that the topic is uncomfortable.
  • Less than half of those surveyed could identify herpes (48%) and chlamydia (42%) as an STD.
  • But there are some who were given made up words and actually thought they were STDs, such as “claphytis” (28%) and “strenedia” (21%), according to SWNS.