ATLANTA, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Many people have misconceptions
about how sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS, chlamydia
and gonorrhea are spread, federal health researchers said
Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
said a survey of 3,500 patients at sexually transmitted disease
clinics found many misconceptions about the ailments.
"More than 38 percent of the patients interviewed believed that
urinating after sex protected them from contracting a sexually
transmitted disease," said Dr. Helene Gayle, director of the
CDC's division of HIV prevention.
"Almost 20 percent said the use of oral contraceptives was a
way of protecting themselves from disease," Gayle said.
Researchers said more than 45 percent thought douching helped
protect them. More than 16 percent thought that washing their
genitals after sex would protect them sexually transmitted
"There still is a substantial portion of people who don't
understand the risks that are linked to transmission and
acquisition of a sexually transmitted disease," Gayle said.
She said health officials estimate that there are about 15
million new infections with sexually transmitted diseases every
year, with treatment costs estimated at $10 billion a year.
The CDC researchers said counseling can help reduce the
mistaken beliefs. People were less likely to have the
misconceptions if they had been diagnosed as having a sexually
transmitted disease. Blacks and people older than 24 were more
likely to have the misconceptions, the researchers said.
The findings were published in the American Journal of