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Stds and the Elderly

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    Sexual Education (Sex Ed.), the infamous course that we were instructed to take in middle/high school. Many of us remember taking this course, feeling either embarrassed and/or thought we knew all that there was to know about the topic. In sex ed., I recall being enlightened about many capabilities that I never knew my body (and others) had.

    Discussions of puberty, reproducing, intercourse, emotions/hormones, and more importantly sexually transmitted infections and disease (STIs and STDs). At the age of about 14 years old, I thought to myself, “Wow, there is so much to be aware of regarding sexual health.” Now, almost 30 years old, I am thankful for those early lessons of sexual awareness. As stated above, taking my first sex ed. course almost 16 years ago, my concern is as you age, where do we obtain further information about how to deal with changes that occur within our bodies naturally and sexually and other related topics? Moreover, I worry about the elderly population. They barely receive the proper healthcare that they require let alone being educated on sexual health.

    According to, “There were 82,938 cases of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia reported among Americans 45 and older last year, according to the CDC’s sexually transmitted disease surveillance report for 2016. That is about a 20 percent increase over 2015…The rates of infection are highest among people ages 15 to 24, but the increase among older Americans was larger than for the rest of the population” (Lilleston, 2018).

    It may come as a surprise, but patients 60 and over make up more the largest amount of in-office treatments for sexual diseases. According to an article released by Becker’s Hospital Review earlier last year, some reasons that contributed to the rise in STD rates among this group include the following:

    1. public perception of healthcare discoveries made during the 1960s (a time where many baby boomers experienced puberty),
    2.  oral contraceptives (only protection was against pregnancy, however not STDs, were gaining notability as a common birth control option), and
    3. advances in modern-day medicines and treatments made STDs appear treatable, rather than life-threatening.

    Seniors, that are recently widowed or divorced, may find themselves having missed out on recent public education campaigns about the importance of barrier contraceptives, much like condoms (male and female). Interesting fact I learned while researching this topic, seniors around the age 60 (and older) are reported to have the lowest condom utilization of any population (Cohen, 2018).

    As I addressed early on in my paper, sexual education programs, typically focus their sights on younger population in high-risk communities, which use strategies such as ensuring fliers and condoms are passed out in areas where sexual activity may be the most prevalent.

    If the same tactic were used to education the elderly about sexual health in retirement homes and other assisted living care facilities, we may observe improvement in safe sexual behaviors among seniors. This is a current public health problem because there is no current solution in place to rectify the matter, but the only players involved are the providers who care for their patients. They are the ones left to educate much of the population that is aging, on what could eventually save their lives from unfortunate diseases that they once did not have to worry about back in their younger years.

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    Stds and the Elderly. (2022, Apr 21). Retrieved from

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