STDs are often thought of as a problem for younger generations to deal with. After all, isn’t most unsafe sex practiced by young adults? Surely, older generations are more aware of the dangers of STDs and how to protect themselves from the spread of infectious sexual diseases.
It seems these assumptions aren’t true. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, STD rates among senior citizens are on the rise. In fact, their STD rates have increased enough to tie young adults aged 20 – 24 for the largest increase in STDs over 4 years. As senior citizens are living longer, healthier lives, their sexual activity has increased, leading to a rise in STD rates.
Are you a sexually active senior citizen? In addition to hepatitis C, there are a number of STDs your generation is spreading. Educate yourself on STD rates among your age group and learn how you can stop the spread.
STD Rates Rising Among Senior Citizens
The CDC’s recent findings indicate that the STD rates of senior citizens has grown from 2007 – 2011:
- Syphilis: in the four year span, STD rates grew by 52%.
- Chlamydia: the incidence of chlamydia rose by 31% among seniors.
- HIV/AIDS: in New York, 75% of people with HIV/AIDs are over 40, with STD rates on the rise. Potentially fatal, AIDS is difficult to treat in seniors because they often have difficulty weathering the AIDS medications.
- Overall STD rates doubled from 2000 to 2010. After 2010, rates continued to rise, with Florida leading the pack in STD rates.
Why are STD rates increasing in senior citizens?
Some experts think that STD rates in older generations are increasing due to prescription drug use, particularly erectile dysfunction (ED) medications. 2010 research found that older men on ED drugs had STD rates double of their non-ED using counterparts, specifically HIV and chlamydia. The higher STD rates in ED users occurred both before and after the prescription.
Another reason for the STD boom among baby boomers and older? Studies have shown that senior citizens are less likely to use condoms that younger generations — 6 times less likely among men, according to Massachusetts General Hospital. Only 10% of women ages 45 – 60 use condoms during sex. Why? Many seniors seem to view condoms as a protection against pregnancy rather than a safeguard against STDs. With worries of pregnancy eliminated by their age, seniors are thus forgoing condom use, even as they launch back into dating and sexual activity.
STD rates & senior citizens: what can you do?
Even with this research supporting the rise of STD rates among their generation, only 5% of senior citizens take advantage of Medicare’s free STD testing. For the spread to stop, senior citizens need to start STD testing. Here’s when to get screened:
- Before having sex with a new partner, both partners should receive a comprehensive STD panel.
- If you have been engaged in any of the following risky sexual behaviors, you should get STD testing for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis today:
- Using condoms inconsistently (or never)
- Engaging in sex with multiple partners (without being tested beforehand)
- Drug or alcohol abuse (especially injection drug users)
- Having sex with someone who is paid for sexual services
- Men who have sex with men
- Get comprehensive STD testing on an annual basis.
Reliable, quick STD testing nationwide.
If you’re a senior citizen looking to stop the rising STD rates among your generation, find your local ARCpoint Labs and get STD testing today. Our walk-in labs offer comprehensive STD panels as well as individual tests so that you can monitor your sexual health.