Typically when people think of age groups that are prone to getting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) they only think of young people, but think again. Americans over 50 are contracting STDs at an alarming rate.
Consider this– you’re a single 65-year-old. You’re retired. Your generation grew up living by the words “If it feels good, do it!” So you do, you do it.
There are no worries of pregnancy, and there are now prescription options available to treat erectile dysfunction. In terms of bedroom fun, senior citizens are reliving their twenties all over again! A sexual reawakening may sound enlightening and all, but so many senior citizens and the elderly are getting and spreading STDs, including HIV.
Seniors’ lack of STD knowledge is a big part of the problem. Healthcare providers assume that geriatric patients aren’t interested in sex or that they are not physically capable of having sex, keeping seniors from getting sexual health information they need. Seniors received little, if any, real sexual health or sex education courses growing up– which has led to some not so pleasant results.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recently the number of STD cases among baby boomers have risen significantly:
- Syphilis cases in Americans 65 and over increased 52 percent from 2007 to 2011.
- Chlamydia infections among Americans 65 and over increased by 31 percent between 2007 and 2011.
- HIV – Americans 55 and older accounted for 24 percent (288,700 cases) of the estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV infection in the U.S. in 2012. In fact, the number of new HIV infections is growing faster among people who are over 50 than those under 40.
- AIDS – People aged 50 and older accounted for 27 percent (7,108 cases) of the estimated 26,688 AIDS diagnoses in the U.S. in 2013.
- Hepatitis C is more common in individuals born between 1945-1965.
A 2010 report from the AARP, titled “Sex, Romance, and Relationships,” polled middle-aged and older people about their sex lives and learned the following:
- Nearly 28 percent of respondents said they had sex at least once a week, including almost half of those who were single, but dating or engaged, and 36 percent of those who were married.
- 85 percent of men and 61 percent of women said sex was important to their quality of life.
- Only 12 percent of single men who were dating and 32 percent of single women who were dating reported always using condoms during sex.
Retirement communities involve getting people of the same age groups together, and we know what kind of business goes down when that happens…. Clearly condoms are not being passed around as much as bingo cards or bridge playing cards.
Let’s help spread the word, and the condoms!