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Tags: sexually transmitted infections | sti | seniors | chlamydia | gonorrhea | syphilis | increase

Cases of STIs More Than Doubled in Older Adults

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By    |   Thursday, 28 March 2024 11:21 AM EDT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are on the rise among adults 55 and older. The rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis for this age group more than doubled in the U.S. over the 10-year period from 2012 to 2022, according to CDC data.

The number of syphilis cases among people ages 55 and over increased 10-fold during those 10 years, while gonorrhea cases increased nearly five-fold during that period, says NBC News. This information was delivered in a presentation Thursday in preparation for next month’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

“We talk about smoking, we talk about diet, exercise, so many things, and not about sex at all,” said Dr. Justyna Kowalska, the author of the presentation and a professor of medicine at the Medical University of Warsaw.

Experts say that the rise in STIs is happening not only in the U.S. but in other countries as well. In England, 2022 data shows STI diagnoses rose 22% from 2014 to 2019 among those 45 years and older with chlamydia being the most common, followed by gonorrhea.

Kowalska says one of the driving forces for the rise is that people are living longer and are more active in their senior years. A survey conducted in 2018 by AARP in conjunction with the University of Michigan found that 40% of people between the ages of 65 and 80 were sexually active and nearly two-thirds are still interested in sex, says NBC News.

Experts say that hormone replacement therapy for women and drugs like Viagra for men are keeping the sexual fires burning for seniors. But they warn that older adults may lack vital knowledge of how to prevent STIs and other aspects of safe sex.

Mathew Lee Smith, an associated professor at the Texas A & M School of Public Health, says that back in the days when seniors attended school sex education wasn’t formally taught. His research confirms that older adults lack some knowledge of STI transmission, symptoms, and prevention. He adds that some older men have trouble using condoms because of dexterity or erectile dysfunction.

Surveys have found that nursing homes can be a hotbed of sexual activity, according to a survey published in 2016. Smith points out that women generally live longer so there is a partner gap as people age and that can lead to multiple partners and sharing partners in older adults communities.

According to Dr. Angelina Gangestad, of University Hospitals, older people may underestimate their risk and not take precautions such as condom use and STI testing before having sex with a new partner. Lack of concern about pregnancy also diminishes condom use.

“When you put all that together, you see a population where there’s probably a little more risky behavior going on, and where people are having new partners because a spouse died or they divorced,” she said. “Older people aren’t thinking about it. Providers aren’t thinking about it either. We’re not doing the education we should be doing with the older population.”

While STIs pose a health risk for all age groups, older adults may have more issues because their immune systems are weakened. They also may be more susceptible to contracting them, says NBC News. Experts say that doctors need to do a better job in discussing safe sex with their older patients.

“We want them to have their best life,” said Smith. “But we want them to have it safely.”

© 2024 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.


Health-News
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are on the rise among adults 55 and older. The rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis for this age group more than doubled in the U.S. over the 10-year period from...
sexually transmitted infections, sti, seniors, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, increase
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2024-21-28
Thursday, 28 March 2024 11:21 AM
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