A Quiet Danger: Seniors and Sexually Transmitted Disease

According to the Center for Disease Control, among our senior citizen population sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are spreading like wildfire. Since 2007, incidence of syphilis among seniors is up by 52 percent, with chlamydia up 32 percent. And this isn’t merely a phenomenon in the United States, as several recent British studies have produced similar results. So apparently the hippy generation has decided to dust off its slightly musty mantra: If it feels good, do it.

However you decide to parse the statistics, one thing is abundantly clear: Many senior citizens are sexually active, and quite a lot of them are woefully under-educated about STDs on every level (signs, symptoms, etc.) They seem to believe that if pregnancy is not an issue, game on! The children and grandchildren of these folks typically received relatively useful sex education in school, including “safe sex” talks, but today’s seniors did not. Recognizing this fact, Medicare now offers free STD screenings for seniors. Unfortunately, as of now, only about 5% of those who are eligible for this no-cost service have chosen to utilize it, which means the tsunami of seniors swapping STDs swells onward unabated.

Read on for an excerpt of today’s Sex and the Single Senior from the New York Times.

The Department of Health and Human Services released a little-noticed report on Medicare a few months ago that had this startling statistic: In 2011 and 2012, 2.2 million beneficiaries received free sexually transmitted disease screenings and counseling sessions. And more than 66,000 received free H.I.V. tests.

The number of Medicare enrollees who took advantage of free S.T.D. tests is about the same as the number who received free colonoscopies to screen for colon cancer, amounting to about 5 percent of all those on Medicare.

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Read more here.

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