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Expert warns middle-aged women about the dangers of STDs

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Older, newly divorced women may be more likely to receive a positive STD test, according to a new paper published by a researcher from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. The expert recommended that women in this situation should educate themselves about the risk factors associated with sexual behavior.

Professor Christopher Coleman said that middle-aged women who have recently divorced may have a higher risk of contracting HIV and other STDs for a number of reasons. First, with the risk of getting pregnant much lower, individuals may be less likely to practice safe sex. Furthermore, older individuals tend to be less knowledgeable about STDs than youths.

This can represent a major problem, Coleman said, because antibiotics and other medications used to treat sexual infections are not tolerated as well by the bodies of older individuals. This may make it much harder to treat an STD in middle-aged women.

"There is a knowledge gap with women knowing what the physiological changes associated with menopause are," Coleman said. "There is very little research on this subject and society and the government don't talk about it, but these high risk sexual behaviors need to be addressed because the rate of HIV positive middle aged women is increasing."

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