STDs Soar Among Elderly
The Australian reports on this new finding among seniors, “A PERFECT storm of longer lifespans, Viagra and carefree care-home living is fuelling a surge in sexually transmitted diseases in retirement communities across the US.
Chlamydia infections increased by 31 per cent and syphilis rose by 52 per cent among Americans over the age of 65 between 2007 and 2011, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. The numbers are similar to those for Americans in their early 20s.
STD tests are now as popular as colonoscopies among Americans over the age of 65, who qualify for government healthcare under the Medicare scheme.
According to Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist and vice-provost at the University of Pennsylvania, America’s senior citizens do not know how to have safe sex, and live like wild college students. “Combine retirement communities, longer life, unfamiliarity with condoms and Viagra – and what do you get? You get an STD epidemic among the social security generation that rivals what we imagine is happening in those ‘Animal House’ fraternities,” he wrote in The New York Times.
Several factors are credited with diverting baby-boomers away from bingo and shuffleboard and towards what has been called “the second sexual revolution”.
“Retirement communities are becoming like college campuses. They cram a lot of similarly aged people together, and when they do, things naturally happen,” said Mr Emanuel. “I mentioned these numbers to a friend, and she was not surprised. When her father moved into an assisted-living facility, she said, three women came by to introduce themselves within 30 minutes. And it wasn’t to compare Medicare pharmacy plans.”
Older people are in better shape than ever before. According to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behaviour, among people aged 60 and older, more than half of men and 40 per cent of women are sexually active. They grew up before the era of safe sex, and do not need to fear accidental pregnancies.
A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that older men who used Viagra were six times less likely to use condoms than men in their 20s.”