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Many Americans lack information about sexually transmitted infections (STIs), a new University of Pennsylvania Annenberg Public Policy Center survey shows. Just over half of survey respondents (54%) know that syphilis can be cured, however, 84% incorrectly believe that a vaccine is available. As many as 30% don’t know the signs and symptoms of syphilis, including sores, swollen lymph nodes, fever, etc., but 77% know that using a condom could protect them. The incorrect responses are somewhat concerning because syphilis cases rose 80% from 2018 to 2022, and many observers believe the trend will continue.

The more you know: When it comes to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Americans are comparatively more knowledgeable: 95% know HIV can be spread through unprotected sex; and 90% know it can be spread by sharing needles. Yet, more than half do not realize that there is no vaccine for HIV.

Americans Have Knowledge Gaps When It Comes to STIs