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Erectile dysfunction drugs make STD testing necessary for seniors

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

In the age of erectile dysfunction drugs, older men who have lost a spouse have an elevated chance of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD), a new study suggests.

Researchers from Harvard University found that since oral Viagra became available in 1998, recently bereaved men over the age of 67 experienced an 83 percent increase in the probability of receiving an STD diagnosis, Health Behavior News Service reports.

The study, which will appear in the November issue of the American Journal of Public Health, examined a sample of 400,000 U.S. couples in which both members were between 67 and 99 years old. After nine years, researchers reviewed data and indicated that men who had been widowed had a 16 percent higher risk of STD infection in the year after their spouses died. STD testing revealed gonorrhea to be the most common infection among this group.

Dr Kristen Smith told the news source, "For men ages 67 and older, the use of medications for erectile dysfunction may contribute to that risk by making sex possible. That said, the lesson applies to all older people with new partners."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2007 there were 515.9 cases of gonorrhea for every 100,000 individuals between 20 and 24-years-old. Meanwhile, there were 2.1 cases among the same population of adults over 65-years-old.

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