Rates of sexually transmitted disease among US, Canadian and British baby boomers have doubled in 10 years as fewer are practicing safe sex, researchers say.And of those between 50 and 90 years of age, 80 per cent were sexually active, a report in the Student British Medical Journal revealed, with implications for sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates, including HIV.
Meanwhile, UPI cited figures from the US centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as showing that while there were 706 diagnoses of infectious syphilis diagnosed among US adults aged 45-54 in 2000 and 179 in those aged 55-64, by 2010 the number had risen to 2,056 and 493, respectively.
The CDC also found that that in 2010, there were 16,106 in the 45-54 age group diagnosed with the STD Chlamydia, versus 5,601 in 2000, and 3,523 in adults aged 55-64 in 2010, compared with 1,110 in 2000.
In Canada from 1997 to 2007, UPI reported, cases of gonorrhea among adults aged 40-59 rose from 379 to 1,502, Chlamydia from 997 to 3,387 and infectious syphilis from 34 to 527.
Meanwhile, in England from 2000 to 2009, diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections in those age 45 and older doubled to almost 13,000 cases, according to the BMJ study by Rachel von Simson, a medical student at King’s College London, and Ranjababu Kulasegaram, a consultant genitourinary physician at St Thomas’ Hospital London.
Perhaps more worryingly in the UK, cases of HIV among the 50-90 age group now comprised 20 per cent of Britain’s reported HIV population, up from 11 per cent in 2001, the Daily Mail reported.
While the BMJ study authors acknowledged that prolonged health and survival were factors in the increases, experts cited the report in urging seniors to consider testing for sexually transmitted diseases — and better protection during sex.
“You never have to retire from sex,” clinical psychologist Judy Kuriansky told CNN, “but you should always behave as the 20-30 year-olds do. You need to be cautious about it.”
She reportedly added: “They just don’t think it can happen to them. STIs (sexually transmitted infections) really started making news in the ’80s and ’90s. The fears and the warnings didn’t hit their generation.”
Older women particularly were more vulnerable to the infectious diseases, according to the BMJ authors.
“Post-menopausal changes to the vagina, such as thinning of the mucosa, narrowing and shortening of the vagina, and decreased lubrication leave women more vulnerable to minor genital injuries and micro-abrasions that facilitate the entry of pathogens,” they wrote.
CNN quotes its own expert, sex therapist Ian Kerner, as pointing out that the 50+ age group was one of the fastest-growing demographics for online dating.
“They wouldn’t even necessarily classify themselves as older,” Kerner said. “It’s often the second time around for them. They’ve been married, have adult children, and they don’t have the same concerns or the same stressors that other people might face.”
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