STDs Among People Over 50 are On the Rise

Younger people often have an unrealistic idea that older people no longer have intimate relationships. It’s obvious that their grandparents and parents once brought children into the world the old-fashioned way, but that was in the distant past. Would people their age have hookups or casual sex? Unthinkable.

STDs Increasing in Those Over 50

Perhaps not. The rising rate of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) among those over 50 is certainly proof that something is going on. A report by the Centers for Disease Control stated that the over-50 age group is now contracting STDs at a higher rate than ever observed previously. Approximately one-fourth of those with HIV are over 55.

Pharmaceutical companies were paying attention, realizing celibacy did not automatically click “on” at a particular birthday. There was a huge market waiting for the purple pill and similar drugs. Since few women over 50 are worried about becoming pregnant, safe sex precautions may not have seemed as important as they should have.

Older People are More Vulnerable to Infections

A study conducted at the University of Chicago revealed that about 60% of women between the ages of 58 to 93 didn’t routinely require the use of condoms. Unfortunately, older women are more prone to vaginal infections than when they were younger. Tiny tears in the vaginal lining allows bacteria and viruses to grow and spread faster than in younger women. Both older men and women tend to have weakened immune systems and are not able to fight off infections of all types as easily as they once could.

Intimacy Matters

The desire for intimacy doesn’t disappear with the loss of a partner, whether from death or divorce. Many older people are not looking for a permanent new relationship, but enjoy and need companionship. Some are reluctant to upset grown children with a new marriage or are reluctant to complicate their financial circumstances.

Being over 50 does not mean retired from life. Seniors are busy with careers, civic responsibilities and families. It is hoped that a greater awareness of the dangers posed by STDs will result in safer intimate relationships.

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