One major characteristic of living things that cannot be taken away from them is reproduction – the ability to produce, both in animal and plants alike. Unlike plants, sexual production is mostly common among animals – humans are not exception, besides having sex for reproduction, man needs to enjoy the heat of sexual pleasure. As presumable, A time comes in the life of man when (even though he is sexually active) might not be engaging in sex for reproduction, rather for enjoyment and pleasure.
However, this moment is when they mostly care less, besides knowing there isn’t any chances of getting pregnant at this stage, they therefore – engage in sexual act without having protection forgetting that, for as long as human engages in sex ( even though there is no chance of pregnancy in seniors 50’s above), there is very high chances of contacting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
STDs generally refers to these infections that can be transmitted from one person to another during sexual activities. They include gonorrhea, genital herpes, Chlamydia, syphilis, genital warts, hepatitis B, etc. Recent statistics shows that the number of STD cases is growing faster in individuals of over 50 years of age them those under the age of 40, CDC estimates that there are more than 20 million cases of STDs every year ( with only a fraction being reported). It is surprising that the rate of STDs in Seniors are growing exponentially, for example there were more than two million reported cases of chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea in 2016. The senior (55-64 years of age) having recorded almost twice the cases of younger adults. The U.S center for Disease Control and preventing also revealed that chlamydia recorded more than 32% among 45-64 years while syphilis recorded more than 15% between 2007-2011.
What could have contributed to the increase in STDs among Seniors?
There are possible reasons for the increase in STDs among seniors. Among other reasons are:-
- United States at large has been experiencing high rate of divorce or the death of one partner. Seniors have therefore resulted in online dating without knowing the sexual history of their new partner and they also don’t bother to talk about it.
- In comparison to the previous generation, new trend in medicine have improved men’s sexual activity. Medications such as viagra, cialis have improved their sexual activity. CDC reported that; there were more than six new cases of STDs in men over 40 years. Per 10,000 in 2008 alone. This is about 50 percent rise in the diseases since 1996.
- STDs become prevalent in the 1980s when HIV/Aids was discovered. Majority of the current seniors were middle-aged and married. Perhaps they had missed the safe sex education which was majorly directed to the youth.
- The older women which are in their menopause are eager to please their newly-found partners and the senior men do not prefer wearing condoms, perhaps they were not accustomed to it or because they lack the knowledge of safe sex.
- Senior women do experience dry vaginally, thin vaginal tissue, and less lubrication after menopause. This can cause micro-tears and wears which expose them to sexually transmitted disease.
The signs of STDs prevent itself in the same way (both in youths, adults or seniors), irrespective of age. Since it has now been established that older adults are at more risk of contracting STDs, it is essential that seniors, younger adults and those who care for them be educated about the spread of STDs. Seniors should be educated on safe sex that they may know how to reduce the risk of contracting STDs when they choose to have sexual activity.
Symptoms of STDs in seniors and possible risk
- Having knowledge of the symptoms of STDs is important, although sometimes difficult to diagnose early since some of them don’t give symptoms. If STDs have defected early, antibiotics could have possibly been the solution, but since most often defect lately, it might require regular screening because permanent damage might have occurred.
- In men, STDs can lead to the infection of the Urethra, pain, and difficulty in urinating, the risk of getting and transmitting HIV is also increased.
- In women, late detection of chlamydia or gonorrhea can lead to a painful pelvic inflammatory disease which may require getting admitted to the hospital. Cervical cancer (which kills thousands of women in the US) is caused by sexually transmitted virus (HPN), having regular cervical screening can detect early cancer before it starts posing problems, but many women are reluctant to get screened for an infection which has no symptoms in its early steps.
- Some common symptoms of STDs are sore throat, lower abdominal pain, painful urination, fatigue, joint pain, etc There can also be a mis-diagnose of early symptoms of STDs (HIV in particular), symptoms such as memory changes, weakness, fatigue, etc as normal aging signs while actually, it is not – it’s early symptom of infection.
- Unlike gonorrhea, syphilis gives symptoms such as sore in the genital areas, sore in the mouth, rashes on hands and feet, joints and muscles pain, fever, hair loss, and vision loss.
- Since lots of people do not perceive seniors to be sexually active, family members or caregivers usually disregard these symptoms to be old age’s. It is essential for caretakers and family members to be familiar with the symptoms common to STDs while remembering the fact that seniors still have good sex.
Seniors should get screened and get tested for STD’s
Protect yourself against STDs, be responsible, practice safe sex, get screened for STDs and make sure you are tested incase of meeting new partners. Be were to discuss with your primary care physicians, caregivers and ddoctors Have the courage and don’t be afraid of engaging in safe sex conversations. Make sure you are tested, so that you can enjoy an active sex-life for many years to come.