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STD rates rise among seniors

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Positive STD tests are becoming a growing problem in the nation's nursing homes, as experts say older individuals are staying sexually active while not necessarily practicing safe sex.

A recent article published in the journal MEDSURG Nursing suggested that rates of syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea and human papillomavirus are all up among individuals over age 50, according to Infection Control Today.

"Unfortunately, the common misconception still persists that people over 50 are no longer sexually active," authors Lisa Jeffers and Mary DiBartolo wrote in their report, according to the news source. "As a result, healthcare providers often do not discuss risky sexual behaviors and STD prevention with middle-aged and older adults."

They added that this generation of seniors may be more sexually active than previous ones due to the popularity of erectile dysfunction medications. Furthermore, the baby boomer generation, which is beginning to hit retirement age, has historically had more liberal attitudes toward sex. The team recommended that the healthcare community launch educational efforts aimed at this group.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that less half of those who should receive STD testing actually do get screened. This may include many seniors.

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