Knowledge of Zika and perception of risk among sexually-active adults in the United States of America: results from a nationally representative sample

Lucia Guerra-Reyes, Tsung chieh Jane Fu, Deana Williams, Debby Herbenick, Brian Dodge, Michael Reece, J. Dennis Fortenberry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Objective. To examine knowledge of Zika transmission and risk perception and to assess variability by condom use in a probability sample of sexually-active adults in the United States. Methods. Data for this study came from the 2016 wave of the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, a nationally representative probability sample of adults in the United States. Data were collected in November 2016 via a cross-sectional Internet-based survey administered to members of a Knowledge Panel, an address-based random sample service managed by GfK. A weighted subsample (n = 1 713) of sexually active adults, 18 – 50 years of age, was included in analyses. Results. More than 90% of men and women reported low or no perceived risk of Zika. Most participants identified mosquito bite as a route of transmission, while significantly fewer identified sexual intercourse (≈ 40%) and vertical (29% men, 41% women) transmission routes. Conclusion. Sexually-active adults in the United States, especially young men, lack awareness of sexual and vertical transmission of Zika Virus. Given the likely endemic nature of Zika, this low-risk perception is an important prevention challenge. Zika prevention messaging should address lesser known transmission routes, emphasize male education, and promote correct and consistent condom use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages1
JournalRevista Panamericana de Salud Publica/Pan American Journal of Public Health
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018



  • Sexual health
  • United States
  • Zika virus infection, prevention & control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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