Increased Research Leads to Dramatic Declines

USA TODAY, February 1995 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Increased Research Leads to Dramatic Declines


Most people seriously underestimate the number of potential AIDS carriers they are exposed to with each additional sexual partner they have, according to research from Ohio State University. The risk of contracting the disease increases exponentially with each new sexual contact because an individual may be exposed to HIV--the AIDS virus--not only directly from his or her partner, but also from the partner's former partners (and their partners as well). Thus, someone who has had nine sexual partners, and each of them had an equal number of partners, has been exposed to 511 possible HIV carriers.

Just one-fourth of survey respondents correctly estimated or overestimated this number. The average estimate was that they would be exposed to 90 possible HIV carriers if they had sex with nine others. "This research clearly shows that people don't understand the woeful arithmetic of sexual promiscuity," notes Laura Brannon, co-author of the study and an assistant professor of psychology at the university's Lima campus. "Most people don't understand the exponential nature of the risk. This makes them feel more invulnerable to getting AIDS than they in fact are."

The sexual experience of the respondents varied from zero to more than 16 total partners. More than half said they had had four or fewer partners.

"It's time to start taking a good news slant on some of the STD [sexually transmitted diseases] trends," maintains H. Hunter Handsfield, professor of medicine, University of Washington, and director, STD Control Program, Seattle-King County Department of Public Health. There have been dramatic declines in gonorrhea, as well as drops in syphilis rates.

There also is reason for optimism on the research front, due to improved tests to screen for chlamydia. One is on the market and another is expected to be widely available shortly. The new tests require only a urine specimen, which will allow screening programs to be expanded greatly. Handsfield also is optimistic about the chances for success of an experimental vaccine to prevent genital herpes, currently being tested in clinical trials across the country.

However, "a very high proportion of people with STDs don't know they are infected," he points out.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Increased Research Leads to Dramatic Declines
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?