Thought you were home free when they came out with that blue pill? Thought you were too old for VD? Don’t make that mistake. STDs don’t have an age limit. While youngsters are still the predominant group affected, older adults are not immune. A few grey hairs on top does not mean all clear down below. Condoms aren’t Kryptonite, but they do provide considerable protection. Unfortunately, condom use is lowest in Americans 45 and older.
And thus there’s no surprise that rates of sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea have doubled for older adults in the last 10 years. The CDC reports that the rates of syphilis in the 45 to 64- year-olds have increased from 885 cases in 2000 to 2500 cases in 2010. Fifteen percent of new cases of HIV are in older Americans. And while there may be biological and sociological reasons for these statistics, the trend is disturbing and reveals an underlying need to get prevention messages to older adults.
As I get older, I am pleased to know that older does not mean intimacy is out. In fact, relationships can be even more satisfying as older people tend to have a better idea of who they are and are often better at communicating clearly what they want. But older doesn’t always mean wiser. Golden girls and OGs need to know that the rules of safer sex still apply. Viagra and its cousins have reenergized older adults, but getting the sexy back doesn’t mean bareback. No doubt the same advise they gave their children – be informed, be responsible, and be careful – is still good advice to heed throughout life.
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