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STI Awareness Month: Know the Stats in the Elderly

By April 20, 2015Archives

It’s no longer a secret that the number of STI cases in the elderly is on the rise. More and more seniors are sexually active than years past. With higher life expectancies and medication to boost male’s testosterone, it’s easy to see why this is the case. However, sex education was not what it is today when our parents or grandparents were in school. As a result, STIs are common within the senior community.

Luckily, Medicare has recognized this problem. They have provided a no-cost STI screening for all of the seniors who qualify for the program. The problem is only 5 percent of the seniors who qualify to get this free screening will take advantage of it which means that we must find another alternative to decrease the spread of ST’s in the senior community.

The first step is education. In order for senior citizens to feel the urge to get an STI screening they need to understand that they’re at high risk for them. As we mentioned earlier, modern healthcare is a contributor to the high increase in STI’s among the elderly. People are living longer and aging better, thus we are maintaining our emotional and physical desire for sex as we grow older.

Unfortunately, sex education for our parents or grandparents was not like today. The only “safe sex” they know is no sex. In the older adult’s mind, if their partner can’t get pregnant then they don’t have to worry. By attending a class or reading a pamphlet the older generation can gain a greater understanding on what causes STIs, how they’re spread, and what their symptoms are.

Another reason STIs are on the rise within the elderly population is due to the fact that your immune system does not get stronger as you get older. You may be wiser, but you’re also more susceptible to disease including sexual transmitted infections. These infections can even lay dormant for months causing seniors to pass it on to multiple people. This is a problem because while the body is fighting off this disease, it leaves way for other infections to enter the body.

If an elderly person does find themselves sick enough to make a trip to the emergency room or see their family physician, consider asking for an STI screening. Elder populations are remaining sexually active for much longer than previous generations. As a result, we must continue with proper sex education for all age groups.

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