Nearly 20 million people are diagnosed with an STI every year in the U.S. alone. Now, a new survey, sponsored by Superdrug Online Doctor, has asked 2,000 people from the U.S. and the U.K. about their attitudes towards venereal diseases like herpes, chlamydia, and syphilis, and how they influence their opinions and behaviors.
The good news: People are pretty honest when it comes to disclosing their STI history. Only 1% of gay people said they’ve lied to a partner about having an STI, as compared to 2% of straight people, and 3% of bisexuals.
Now, the bad news: One in two sexually active Americans will contract an STI by the time they’re 25, but fewer than one-third said they get routinely tested, which totally explains the uptick in chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and herpes in recent years. Even more concerning, 42% of U.S. respondents and 62% of U.K. respondents said they don’t even ask new partners if they’ve ever tested positive for an STI.
Other less encouraging news: STI stigma appears to be alive and well. Only 27% of straight people said they’d consider dating someone with an STI, as compared to 42% of gay people and 47% of bisexuals. In the U.S., respondents said they considered syphilis to be the “most severe” STI. While in the U.K., people said chlamydia was the worst of the offenders. FYI: Both of those STIs are totally curable and treatable.
Lastly, researchers looked at condom use.
It turns out both gay and straight people use condoms at about the rate. 50% of gays and 51% of straights said they use protection more often than not. Meanwhile, 60% of bisexuals said they use condoms regularly.
So what’s the takeaway from all this? According to researchers, “Understanding your partner’s sexual health – as well as your own – is an important part of promoting healthy sexual habits. Don’t let fear or embarrassment get in the way of having an open conversation about your sexual health and any sexual conditions you may be experiencing.”
So how do these results match up with your perceptions and behaviors? Sound off in the comments section below.