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Americans Take Risks With Sex

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WASHINGTON - Americans may say they know a lot about sexually transmitted diseases, but they don't practice what they preach when it comes to defending against them, according to a survey published yesterday.

While 1 in 4 Americans will be infected with an STD - and up to half of younger adults will be - most of those surveyed believed they were not personally at risk.

This is precisely why STDs spread so easily and so pervasively in society, said the American Social Health Association, which published the survey.

"The findings in our survey are quite disturbing," said Dr. James Allen, president and chief executive officer of the ASHA.

"Despite the fact that STDs are extremely widespread and have severe consequences, it is troubling that there is such a large portion of people who still feel invincible."

STDs cause a range of long-term problems. Human wart virus, or HPV, is the main cause of cervical cancer, while bacterial infections such as gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause infertility in women.

The nonprofit group published a poll of 1,155 adults, ages 18 to 35, interviewed by Harris Interactive. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Despite not knowing whether their partner had been tested, 93 percent said they were sure their partner did not have an STD, the survey found.Reuters

Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.


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