Senior Citizens and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Years ago sexual behavior diminished as we grew older. But things have changed, with the invention of Viagra. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that people age 50 and older make up more than 10% of the total AIDS cases in the country. During the last decade HIV cases have risen by 500% among our older population.
It is not unusual for men to become impotent by their mid to late fifties. In fact the statistics state 1 out of 4 men of this age are impotent. As men reach their mid to late sixties more than fifty percent are impotent and by mid seventies most men are impotent. In 1999, Viagra became commercially available and now it is reported that 1 in 4 men are taking the “little blue pill.”
Seniors are at a higher risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) because of lack of sex education. Seniors are unaware of how to protect themselves. After being married for long periods of time, people found it unnecessary to use condoms. But with many partners dying and the increase of divorce among those over 50 many find themselves dating again.
People often feel that their past sexual history is not to be shared. Today however, asking about ones sexual history should be expected. Your partner may not even be awarehe or she has an STD which is why education for the senior population is needed. People are at greater risk for STDs if:
1. You have more than one sexual partner
2. You are a male having sex with another male
3. You do not use condoms every time you have sex
4. You don’t know your partners sexual or drug history
5. You are female (women are twice as likely to get certain STDs when exposed than men)
6. You have a weakened immune system
STDs are not only transmitted thru intercourse they can also be transmitted by skin to skin contact and oral sex. Seniors should not shy away from asking their doctor questions about STDs and doctors should be educating their patients when prescribing Viagra about STDs.
Be older and wiser, choose your mates carefully, be faithful, and discuss you sexual history with your partner. Has your partner used needles for drugs in the past? You should know if they have had a blood transfusion during the period of time between 1978-1985.
Use condoms when having vaginal, oral or anal sex. Use only water based lubricants because oil based can weaken condoms.
At this time, Medicare will pay for HIV screenings only, but soon it is hoped they will be adding other STD testing to their payable services. The New Britain Health Department runs a Sexual Health Clinic every Tuesday and Thursday from 2-3:30 pm. Please call the Nursing Division at 860-826-3464 for more information.