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Chronic Disease & Injury

Sexual Health (STDs)

Age offers no protection against Sexually Transmitted Diseases. There is no question that sexual activity among older Americans has risen dramatically over the past decade, and with it has come a rise in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The combination of Viagra and Internet dating, which both came into existance around 1998, gave seniors two necessary ingredients for continuing their sex lives: ability and opportunity.

Rates of sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have doubled for people in their 50s, 60s and 70s in the past decade, but safe sex awareness among older adults and its promotion by doctors is still lagging, according to an article published today by researchers at Kings College and Saint Thomas’s Hospital in London.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 885 reported cases of syphilis in 45- to 64-year-olds in 2000; in 2010, there were more than 2,500. In 2000, there were 6,700 cases of chlamydia in this age group; the number ballooned to more than 19,000 by 2010.
The numbers of older people with HIV has nearly doubled, and 15 percent of new diagnoses of HIV in the U.S. were in people age 50 and older in 2005, which is the most recent year that the CDC calculated the risk for this age group.

The most appropriate strategies for increasing awareness of STD s including HIV risk among older adults is ongoing assessment of personal risk, and implementing safer sex behaviors among women and men in their 50s or older.

The take home lesson is that older adults are just as vulnerable in acquiring Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) as other age groups. Reducing risk by practicing safe and healthy sexual behaviors is key to preventing potentially compounding health issues.

Resources

STD:

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have been on the rise for people in their 50s, 60s and 70s. This is a public health concern. Safe sex awareness among older adults and its promotion is every citizen’s responsibility.

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Prevention of Sexual Health (STDs):

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