Sex Study Will Have `Deadly' Effects, Critics Say Lower Sense of Risk Will Cause Rise in Unsafe Behavior, Group Contends

Article excerpt

A NEW STUDY that says Americans are much more conventional about sex than pop culture implies will damage efforts to fight AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, say two people involved in that work.

"This will lower our sense of risk, and that's deadly," said the Rev. Beth Meyerson, director of client services for St. Louis Effort for AIDS. "I can't tell you how deadly it is. There has to be a clear understanding that people are at risk and that they need to change their behavior."

The study, made public Thursday by the University of Chicago, says three of every four men and six of every seven women remain faithful to their spouses throughout marriage. It also reports that four of every five Americans ages 18 to 59 had either one or no sex partners in the 12 months prior to the study and that homosexuals make up 2 percent to 4 percent of the population.

The study's authors said they interviewed 3,432 men and women in 1992.

Dr. Z.A. Dalu, who operates a sexual-disease clinic in the Central West End, said he personally did not believe the fidelity rates were that high. …