Sex can be dangerous if you don’t take the proper precautions, but that doesn’t make it more lethal than a car accident. Even so, people still believe they’re more likely to die from a sex-related disease, according to a study.
Terri D. Conley and associates at the University of Michigan surveyed 681 people and found that most were convinced that 17 times as many individuals would die from contracting HIV through sex than in an a car accident. Part of the reason for this fear of death by sex is the stigmatization placed on STIs, Vice reports.
To test this theory, he conduct three social experiments where people were asked to rate others based on different scenarios. In one of them, participants reacted more negatively to the person who gave someone else chlamydia than someone who transmitted H1N1 (in which that person hypothetically died.)
“Participants also perceived the target that transmitted chlamydia with mild outcomes to be riskier and dumber than the target that transmitted H1N1 with the fatal outcome,” the study explains. “That is, a target who gave someone chlamydia through sexual intercourse and caused the person to see a doctor and take antibiotics for a week was perceived as riskier, negative, selfish, and dumber than a person who gave someone H1N1 through sexual intercourse and caused the person to die.”
As a result, those who do have STI’s aren’t seeking treatment out of fear for shame and embarrassment. What’s worse is that many aren’t even getting tested because they’re afraid of what they may find. Pro tip: It’s easier to wear a condom than shield oneself from an approaching vehicle.