Less than Half of Adults in the U.S. Are Aware That Zika Virus Can Be Sexually Transmitted

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New polling data from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy show the American public has a distinct lack of knowledge about the Zika virus--including how it can be transmitted.

The stakes are high....And the solutions are there.

Sixty-four percent of American adults say they know “little or nothing” about the Zika virus and less than half (49%) are aware that the virus can be sexually transmitted, according to results from a new nationally representative survey commissioned and released today by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

Other results from the telephone survey of 1,009 adults age 18-45 include:

  • Of those who know at least a little about the Zika, 66% say they know “little or nothing” about the sexual transmission of the virus.
  • 86% say they have not changed their sexual behavior because of concerns about Zika.
  • 88% say they have not changed their use of contraception because of concerns about Zika.
  • 84% say they are aware the Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her baby during pregnancy but, of that group, 67% say they are not being more careful about avoiding an unplanned pregnancy or postponing a planned pregnancy

“With the Zika virus emerging as a critical public health issue here and around the globe, it is even more important for us to be intentional about when, if, and under what circumstances to get pregnant,” said Ginny Ehrlich, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. “The stakes are high—for us and future generations. And the solutions are there. Never before have there been a broader array or more effective contraceptive options—that combined with a condom—can prevent both an unplanned pregnancy and the transmission of Zika.”

About the survey. Data presented here are drawn from a national telephone survey conducted for The National Campaign by SSRS, an independent research company. Telephone interviews were conducted from May 25 through June 7, 2015 among a nationally representative sample of 1,009 respondent age 18-45. The margin of error for total respondents is +/- 3.35% at the 95% confidence level.

About The National Campaign. The National Campaign works to reduce both teen pregnancy and unplanned pregnancy. If we are successful in reducing unplanned pregnancy among teens and young women, child and family wellbeing will improve, there will be less poverty, and more young men and women will complete their education or achieve other life goals. For more information, visit http://www.TheNationalCampaign.org.

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Bill Albert
The National Campaign
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