Sexually transmitted infection rates rose among older people, CDC data shows


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  3 weeks ago  •  12 comments

By:   Aria Bendix

Sexually transmitted infection rates rose among older people, CDC data shows
CDC data shows that rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in people ages 55 and up more than doubled over a 10-year period.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

Sexually transmitted infections are becoming more common in older adults.

Rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in people ages 55 and up more than doubled in the U.S. over the 10-year period from 2012 to 2022, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The number of syphilis cases among people ages 55 and up increased seven-fold during those 10 years, while gonorrhea cases increased nearly five-fold and chlamydia cases more than tripled during that time.

A presentation to be delivered Thursday — part of a lead-up event to the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases next month — warns that both doctors and older adults are overlooking the risks of STIs in this age group.

"We talk about smoking, we talk about diet, exercise, so many things, and not about sex at all," said Justyna Kowalska, the author of the presentation and a professor of medicine at the Medical University of Warsaw.

The issue is not limited to the U.S. In England, surveillance data published in 2022 suggested that STI diagnoses rose 22% from 2014 to 2019 among people ages 45 and up. Chlamydia was the most common, followed by gonorrhea.

Kowalska pointed to a few factors that may be driving up STI rates among older adults.

For one, people are living longer compared to past generations and enjoying more active lifestyles in their 60s, 70s and 80s. For many, that includes sex. A 2018 survey from AARP and the University of Michigan estimated that 40% of people ages 65 to 80 are sexually active, and nearly two-thirds are interested in sex.

Hormone replacement therapy, which can treat symptoms of menopause, can prolong sexual desire in older women, while erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra can help older men remain sexually active.

But older adults may not have gotten the type of sex education provided to teenagers today, according to Matthew Lee Smith, an associate professor at the Texas A&M School of Public Health.

"Back in the '30s, the '40s, the '50s, traditional school wasn't really doing sexual education very formally," said Smith, who studies behavioral health risks in older adults.

Smith's research has shown that older adults lack some knowledge about STI transmission, symptoms and prevention.

He said doctors can be sheepish about asking older patients about their sexual activity, and older people often aren't inclined to discuss their sex lives with peers or family members.

"No one wants to think about grandma doing this," Smith said. "You certainly aren't going to ask grandma if she was wearing condoms — and that's part of the problem, because every individual regardless of age has the right to intimacy."

Some older men may struggle with condom use, Smith said, because of either a lack of dexterity or erectile dysfunction.

What's more, he added, many older adults married at a younger age than is typical now and only had one sexual partner until they divorced or were widowed. So some might not think to use a condom, Smith said — especially since pregnancy isn't a concern.

Nursing homes also create opportunities for new sexual partners. The results of a U.S. survey of nursing home directors, published in 2016, found that sexual activity was common in these settings, which often have more female than male residents.

"In the heterosexual, older adult community, there's a partner gap: Women live longer than men and there's a larger proportion of females to men," Smith said. "What it can lead to oftentimes is multiple partners and sharing of partners."

Though STIs pose health risks to all age groups, older people may have a harder time clearing infections or be more susceptible to contracting them in the first place, medical experts said.

"The immune system is weaker, so you can get an infection easier, but there's other physical things related to just sexual intimacy that make one more susceptible," said Ethan Morgan, an assistant professor of epidemiology at The Ohio State University College of Nursing. Among women who are postmenopausal, for instance, the vaginal lining is more prone to tearing, which makes it easier for an infection to occur.

The experts stressed that doctors need to do a better job of discussing safe sex with older patients.

"We want them to have their best life," Smith said, "but we want them to have it safely."


jrDiscussion - desc
Freshman Quiet
1  Igknorantzruls    3 weeks ago

what, no one wants to touch this...? Tell ppost menopausal mom mom that unless ole perpindicular pop pop suits up, he ain't gettin none, cause if he don't, gonorrhea granny is gonna have to stop selling her fanny, to all the horny ole manny's, and chlamydia Clark gonna be left alone in the dark while silly Suzy syphilis a la floozy be contaminating all of the old farts bubbling in the jacuzzi ! 

Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
2  Drinker of the Wry    3 weeks ago
The number of syphilis cases among people ages 55 and up increased seven-fold during those 10 years, while gonorrhea cases increased nearly five-fold and chlamydia cases more than tripled during that time.

Boomers were denied sex education when they went to school and have never recovered.

Professor Principal
3  devangelical    3 weeks ago

what the hell is going on in those retirement communities and nursing homes? I guess the elimination of malls and mall walking has morphed into a different mode of daily cardio... wtf?

... hello? uh yes, is this _____ ? and your father is ______? ... uh yeah, I'm very sorry to inform you that your father has passed. we suspect some type of cardio event as the cause, but we'll have to wait for the autopsy report. apparently we're still suffering the after effects of that missing jar of viagra that was stolen from the personal effects of a previous resident that had passed. the coroner is already here and he's in the process of draining a few pints of blood from your father so that he can be transported to the morgue as soon as the separation from the female resident, who we suspect is the viagra thief, has been completed. so far she's been very resistant and we fear rigor mortise has already set in as a queue of female residents has now formed from your father's room, to well past the nurses station. also, what we thought was a rash, the coroner has just informed us, was actually syphilis. have a nice day. 

Freshman Quiet
3.1  Igknorantzruls  replied to  devangelical @3    3 weeks ago

She doesn't have a dishonest bone in her body,

except mine !

Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
3.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  devangelical @3    3 weeks ago

Wow! He must have hung like a horse or he was just really that good

Professor Principal
3.2.1  devangelical  replied to  Trout Giggles @3.2    3 weeks ago

he was dead already. rigor mortise was the joke.

Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
3.2.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  devangelical @3.2.1    3 weeks ago



Professor Principal
4  Kavika     3 weeks ago

Well it does prove one thing, you're never too old...LMAO

Red, where the hell are the blue pills. No not those, those are for my high blood pressure, the damn blue ones the ones that we use when I get romantic, you know when you call me a crazy Indian....

Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
5  Trout Giggles    3 weeks ago

I see a cottage industry here....going from nursing home to nursing home for sex education.

Actually, I would volunteer my time after I retire to talk to the residents

Professor Principal
5.1  devangelical  replied to  Trout Giggles @5    3 weeks ago
going from nursing home to nursing home for sex education

go ahead and run that visual thru your mind a few times...

Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
5.1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  devangelical @5.1    3 weeks ago

never mind

that does sound a little ....um....tawdry?

Professor Expert
6  sandy-2021492    3 weeks ago

Saw a local physician as a patient today.  He works part-time for a local hospice, so a lot of his patients are elderly and/or in nursing homes.  He said syphilis is rampant in the local nursing homes, especially among residents with dementia.  They still want to get busy, but forget about condoms and the reasons for them.


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