Number of pensioners with STIs doubles in 10 years
A surge in divorce rates is being blamed for an increase in the number of older people and pensioners contracting sexually transmitted infections and diseases (STIs/STDs).
In the past decade cases of herpes and Chlamydia has doubled in the over-45 age group and out of all the adults undergoing treatment for HIV at least one in five is over 50 years old.
Now health experts are calling for recently divorced over-45s to be given advice on practicing safe sex and the importance of using condoms.
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It is thought that after being married to one partner for years, when they get divorced members of the older generation are ignorant to the risks of unprotected sex.
To coincide with an increase in cases of Chlamydia and herpes, syphilis and gonorrhoea are also becoming more common.
Syphilis is said to have increased fourfold, a shocking increase considering 10 years ago it was almost wiped out.
Researchers are warning that older men who take Viagra and women who are going through menopausal changes and have increased fertility are most at risk of catching an STI or STD.
Writing an editorial in the Student BMJ medical journal, Rachel von Simson, a medical student at London’s Kings College and a consultant genitourinary physician at London’s St Thomas’ Hospital, Ranjababu Kulasegaram, said that previous research indicates 80 percent of people in the 50 to 90 age bracket are sexually active.
Speaking to the Metro newspaper, Von Simson said: “Younger people are continually exposed to the safe sex message but older people may not be as aware.
“Last year, the Family Planning Association ran the first ever national campaign promoting safe sex among the over 50s.”
She added: “Perhaps we need more of those to raise awareness.”
Meanwhile, Natika Halil, from the sexual health charity FPA, commented: “Too many people in that age group coming out of long-term relationships don’t think safer sex applies to them.
“But the truth is STIs will find you just as attractive whatever your age.
“The message is if you’re starting a new relationship, remember to use a condom and protect yourself,” she said.
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