Sexual activity and health needs to be a more common and open dialogue for older adults, since 80% of people age 50 years and older are sexually active. Sexually transmitted disease rates have doubled over the past decade, meaning higher levels of STD and STI awareness and responsibility are needed. First, not enough people are dialoguing with their doctors about their sexual activity. Statistics tell us that 38% of men and only 22% of women are discussing their sex lives with their physicians.
If you are over 50 and are sexually active, there are five steps you can take for STD prevention:
Get educated. Make sure you fully understand the risks and consequences of sexual activity.
Openly discuss your sexual history and habits with your doctor.
Get tested regularly.
Communicate with your partner about your sexual history and health. Learn about theirs as well.
Practice safe sex, and use a condom.
As of 2005, people age 50 and over made up for 15% of new patients diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, and 24% of persons living with HIV/AIDS. This could be avoided by practicing safe sex, and increasing education on STDs and STIs.
Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia are Most Common STDs Over 50
Education and awareness are crucial, considering 3.3 million men over age 55, and 200,000 women over 55 are contracting Syphilis. Syphilis is a venereal disease caused by bacteria. If left untreated, it can lead to sores on the skin, organ damage and even death.
Another major STI that is highly prevalent in the over 55 age group is Gonorrhea, which is an inflammation of the genitals causing burning sensations and discharge. Keep in mind that symptoms vary between men and women. 13.4 million men and 2.4 women are infected with Gonorrhea.
The highest STD in this sexually active age group is Chlamydia, a bacterial disease sharing symptoms similar to Gonorrhea. It can develop into conjunctivitis or pneumonia if left untreated. It is affecting 13.7 million men and 11.4 million women.