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Seniors need to use STD testing services as well

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

It's important for people to remember that sexually transmitted diseases do not have an age limit. Sexually active individuals of all ages should use STD testing services to help ensure a clean status, or they may find themselves experiencing a host of medical problems. Some elderly people may be under the impression that STDs are a young man's problem, but they would certainly be wrong. According to a recent report by CBS Los Angeles, STD rates continue to rise in older populations, and it's time for this generation to take greater precaution when engaging in sexual activity.

The news source pointed out that study after study over the years has shown that elderly individuals may be in need of more information regarding the dangers of STDs and ways to prevent them, since they do not appear to be practicing safer sex.

Common misconceptions
CBS spoke to Steven Rabin, M.D., a gynecologist in Burbank, Calif. who said that one of the reasons elderly people may have high STD rates is because they are no longer concerned about pregnancy. They would be wrong, because while pregnancy may not be something they still need to worry about, STDs are. While many forms of birth control help prevent pregnancy, condoms are the only way to reduce the spread of STDs during sexual contact, and older people need to use them.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals aged 50 and older represent almost one-fourth of all people with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. While this figure can partially be attributed to the fact that people with HIV are living longer than they were a decade ago, it also suggests that older individuals are at risk of contracting this virus. The CDC adds that many older people were not educated on the dangers of HIV because it was not prevalent when they were growing up. But HIV isn't the only sexually transmitted condition seniors are vulnerable to.

"Eighty percent of people 50 years and older are sexually active still. What's dramatic in that in the age group 50 and above we are seeing a doubling and tripling of STDs such as chlamydia and syphilis and that's startling," Rabin told CBS News.

What prevention is out there?
The American Association of Retired Persons spoke to Justin Goforth, who is the director of Washington D.C.'s Community Health Division at the Whitman Walker Clinic, which specializes in HIV-AIDS care, who said that older people need to understand how to use a condom properly. He said that many elderly individuals may have never had condom use properly explained to them, and if this is the case, they shouldn't be embarrassed, but rather seek out education. Goforth also suggested that non-monogamous couples get screened regularly.

Many older people are actively using the internet these days, and if so they should use the internet as a resource to teach them more about STD prevention methods. Furthermore, these individuals should be regularly tested for STDs, so that they do not unwittingly infect their sexual partners with one these infections or viruses. In some cases, a simple shot or pill will cure an STD, while some infections, such as gonorrhea, are becoming increasingly difficult to control. For all of these reasons, it's important for older people to regularly monitor their health and take all necessary precautions to keep themselves and their partners safe.

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