Sex in the golden years

Seniors enjoy sex, but lack knowledge of STD testing

by Ritter Rudesind, Care Advisor

A lot of people agree on the importance of educating young people about safer sex. We have sex education in schools, Public Service Announcements on TV and radio stations, and other forms of outreach aimed at young people to help them be responsible and protect their sexual health.

So why is it that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 24% of HIV positive people are 50 years or older? Not to mention, the CDC expects that percentage to double by 2015. That’s why today’s National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day is so important…to help shed light on this public health challenge and how to help prevent it.

What are some contributing causes of the rising number of HIV infections among older generations?

Age-based profiling

It turns out that many physicians don’t test older patients for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and many don’t even ask their older patients about their sex lives or intravenous drug use. According to Dr. Stacey Lindau, an Ob/Gyn at the University of Chicago, “Removing age-based profiling with respect to STD screenings is a good idea”…and a good first step in reversing the trend of new HIV infections among Boomers and older.

Lack of outreach and information

Many people in their 50s and above never had sex ed in their youth or adolescence, so they lack the knowledge that younger generations take for granted. When it comes to why and how to use condoms, and the importance of regular STD screenings and not sharing drug needles…some older folks just don’t know all the facts.

Seniors are living longer…and enjoying sex in their golden years

The good news is that people 50 and older are living longer, healthier, more socially active lives than ever before. They’re taking care of their bodies and continuing to enjoy sex…but they’re less likely to talk about sex and STDs with their partners, friends and doctors like a lot of younger people do.

So, if you’re 50-plus…remember that taking care of your sexual health is a critical part of taking care of your overall health (and your partner’s health). In other words, it’s important to take control of your sexual well-being at any age…we encourage you to talk to your doctor about HIV and STD testing, and your options for safer sex as you get older.

Related info:

The Basics About STDs

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