STIs in retirement homes soar as expert calls for 'safe sex' lessons

STIs in retirement homes soar as expert calls for 'safe sex' lessons
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Rates of STIs doubling in retirement homes over the last decade have led to experts calling for over-50s to be taught 'safe sex'.

This can be attributed to rising divorce rates, the emergence of Viagra, dating apps and the growth of retirement villages, reports MailOnline.

An expert said this means 'sexual risk taking is now common among older adults' as STI rates among 'baby boomers' have gone up by almost a fifth in a four-year period.

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

It's understood this figure could be even higher though with a lack of access to sexual health services and embarrassment meaning many won't look for help.

A survey of sexual health in older adults in England found half of men and almost a third of women aged 70 and over reported being sexually active.

Professor Justyna Kowalska, of the Medical University of Warsaw, wants to see sex become 'normalised' and part of routine healthcare for older generations rather than focusing on the young.

She 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."

Presenting her findings at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Barcelona, Professor Kowalska said sex education programmes should be tailored to the over-50s.

"Sexual health campaigns are focused on young people and overlook the needs and experiences of those aged 50 and older," she said.

"Health promotion messages give the impression that condoms and concerns about STIs only apply to young people but 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."

A Swedish study also found 46 per cent of individuals aged 60 years and older reported being sexually active, one in 10 aged 90 and above.

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