Survey Finds People Still Have Huge Misconceptions About STDs

Survey Finds People Still Have Huge Misconceptions About STDs

In the past, people believed women could get pregnant just by sitting on a toilet seat.

Today, many Americans are under the mistaken impression that they can get an STD by using the bathroom and sitting on the toilet.

Unless it’s an extreme case, this isn’t possible.

A survey involving 2,000 sexually-active Americans noted there were more false thinkings about STDs.

The OnePoll survey found that 34 percent of respondents honestly thought it was possible to catch a sexually transmitted disease from using a public toilet seat.

However, WebMD said STD-causing organisms cannot live on a toilet surface for a long time. The only conceivable way in which to become infected by a toilet seat is if the genital or urethral tract makes contact with the seat or you have a sore or cut where the body comes into contact with the seat.

Obviously, the chance is low.

President of the American Society for Microbiology Dr. Abigail Salyers said nobody, to her knowledge, has ever gotten an STD from a toilet seat unless they had sex on it.

The survey also found that 24 percent of people believed it was possible to catch an STD from sharing drinks with someone who has the disease.

What other points did the survey find?

  • 22 percent of people still believe it’s possible to catch an STD from handshakes and other incidental contact (this line of thinking may be due in part to the AIDS epidemic of the 80s and 90s.
  • 22 percent were under the impression using two condoms improved their chances of not catching an STD.
  • 36 percent thought one condom fully protected them from STDs.
  • 81 percent of people think they understand all they need to do about sexual health.
  • 52 percent remember taking sex education classes, with 53 percent of those saying the classes taught abstinence-only.
  • 53 percent did not get tested for STDs in the last year.
  • 23 percent are uncomfortable with testing.
  • 24 percent are anxious about testing results.
  • 19 percent said they have never gotten an STD test before.
  • 24 percent said they never talk to their partner about STDs or their status or the last time they were tested. Of those responded, 43 percent say it’s because they’re uncomfortable talking about it.
  • Only 48 percent of those surveyed could recognize herpes with 42 percent recognizing chlamydia as being an STD.

Written by Mark Riegel, MD

Latest Stories

Here’s what we've been up to recently.

Concerned about an STD?

Help stop the spread of STDs by knowing your status. Get tested today!