Our generation, fondly known as “boomers,” was inundated in the 60s and 70s with slogans such as “Make Love Not War” and songs like “Love the One You’re With” (great song by the way). It was the era of free love but, as we now know, nothing is free; there’s a price to be paid for everything.
The repercussions of the “Summer of Love” in 1968 may have had a significant impact on the “boomers” of today. After the availability of birth control pills (free at many clinics at the time) and the advances in treatments of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), “boomers” threw caution to the wind.
Now, in their advanced years, it appears that they give little thought to consequences of sexual intercourse with new partners.
An analysis of patients in Athena Health’s network found that those over age 60 accounted for the largest increase of in-office treatments for sexually transmitted infections. The report found that diagnosis rates for herpes simplex, gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis B, trichomoniasis and chlamydia rose 23 % between 2014 and 2017. That’s compared to an 11 % increase among the entire population over age 13. HIV was not included in this analysis, but data from 2005 noted that persons age 50 and older account for nearly one quarter of all people with HIV/AIDS and 15 % of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses.
A change in the social culture, such as higher divorce rates and out-of-wedlock sex, has facilitated more active sex lives. Because education and prevention messages on the subject of STDs have not been geared to seniors, they very often know less than the younger population. The increase in STDs is “more prevalent in men than women” says Dr. Lisa Granville, professor of geriatrics at the Florida State University College of Medicine. Hmmm……
A survey sponsored by the University of Michigan and AARP in 2018, reported that half of 65- to 80-year-old men said they were extremely or very interested in sex, compared with 12 % of women in that age group. In addition, only 31 % of the women were sexually active compared with 51% of men who reported having sex. These stats may suggest that “women of a certain age” experience more health related issues due to menopause (such as vaginal atrophy), which lead to less interest in sex. Or, women could just be more particular when it comes to sexual partners!
Besides adhering to safe sex measures (testing before having intercourse, condoms), seniors should know that Medicare does cover free screening and counseling for STDs (chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and hepatitis B). At least we “women of a certain age” don’t have to worry about screening for pregnancy!
Enjoy but be safe!
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