Rising STIs in over-50s prompts calls for ‘safe-sex’ lessons

A spike in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among over-50s has led to calls for more safe sex education.

Increasing divorce rates, the emergency of Viagra, dating apps and the growth of the retirement village have all combined to mean “sexual risk taking” is now “commong among older adults,” say researchers.

In just four years the rates of diseases including gonorrhoea and syphilis have increased by almost a fifth, reports MailOnline.

Although the experts believe this is likely an underestimate as embarrassment and a lack of access to sexual health services mean many STIs will go unreported.

Scientists now say sex must be “normalised” as part of routine healthcare for older people. Professor Justyna Kowalska, of the Medical University of Warsaw, said: “People do not become asexual with age.

“In fact, with preventive medicine and improved lifestyles people are enjoying a healthy life and sex life for longer. Older people often find greater satisfaction in their sex lives due to experience and known expectations.”

In England, 37,692 new STIs were recorded in the over 45s in 2019 compared to 31,902 in 2015 – an increase of 18 percent.

Half of men and almost a third of women aged 70 and over in England said they were sexually active. While a study in Sweden found 46 percent of individuals aged 60 years and older reported being sexually active, one in 10 aged 90 and above.

For many however, a lack of sex education and school along with no risk of unwanted pregnancy can heigten the risks taken.

Professor Kowalska has now suggested sex education programmes tailored for over 50s could be taught in community settings. She explained: “Sexual health campaigns are focused on young people and overlook the needs and experiences of those aged 50 and older.

“The dangers of undiagnosed and untreated STIs such as HPV-related cancers and onwards transmission are very real, particularly in this age group who are more likely to have underlying conditions such as heart disease and stroke.”

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