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Seniors and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

By HERWriter
 
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Safe sex and seniors. It’s typically not a popular topic of conversation. Now, many people, particularly doctors, said that needs to change. A record number of seniors are having unprotected sex and contracting a myriad of sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, HIV and AIDS at alarming rates. These diseases can be life threatening if not recognized and treated.

While the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures on sexually transmitted infections show relatively steady rates of STDs in people aged 55 and older, that data comes from self-reporting. Across the country, it’s not in line with what physicians are seeing.

STDs are traditionally associated with adolescents and young adults. However, over the past few years, the number of new cases reported among senior citizens has increased significantly.

And it is not just happening in the U.S. Researchers at England's West Midlands Health Protection Agency found in less than a decade, STD rates more than doubled among people ages 45 and older.

There are many reasons why so many older people are contracting sexually transmitted diseases. These include high midlife divorce rates and the ease of finding dates on the Internet, where they don't know the person or their sexual history. Also, there are fewer available men. The little blue pill allows males still alive in their 70's and 80's to function sexually. At that age, there are many more women and often those men have several partners.

Perhaps the most critical reason could be older generation's outdated view of safe sex. Many believe condoms are used only for birth control and none are worried about getting pregnant.

Another reason is many seniors are not comfortable discussing the topic. The same can be said for physicians. Sex experts worry too many doctors avoid the subject because they feel awkward talking about STDs with older patients. Or they make the assumption older people aren’t engaging in sexual activity after a certain age. Plus older people tend to delay visiting their doctor for treatment of an STD, or they avoid it altogether.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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