STDs in Older Women

July 22, 2008

Sex is Good at Any Age

So, who says a woman over 50 can't be sexually active?  There was a time when it was a commonly held belief that women over a certain age lose interest in sex and are not at risk for sexually transmitted diseases.  Some interesting data collected by researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health showed that among women from the ages of 60 to 94, 34 percent of married women and four percent of non-married women reported having had sexual activity in the former three months.  The bottom line of these findings is that these activities have made some unsuspecting women more susceptible to contracting an STD - HIV in particular, which is the precursor to AIDS.  The fact is that in 2005, 15 percent of all newly diagnosed cases of HIV occurred among men and women over the age of 50.  There has been a 500 percent increase of reported cases of HIV among Senior Citizens and nearly 27 percent of those living with AIDS/HIV in the US are 50-plus.

A Recent Phenomenon: STDs in Older Women

What has caused this phenomenon? There are several causes for the increase in incidents of STDs in older women.  The overall tendency for women to take better care of themselves both physically and mentally has gone a long way to helping them re-enter the dating pool after a divorce or death of a partner.  Many women become sexually active with a new partner later in life and past cultural information is long forgotten or thought of as invalid for today.  Most of today's STD awareness information is targeted to a much younger audience and post-menopausal women slip between the cracks of education from either schools or doctors.  The same social/cultural norms may preclude the feeling that having a talk about sex with a new partner would be a good thing to do.  Consequently, former sexual activity is unknown and the possibility of contracting a disease is increased.

Old Information, New Problems: STDs Over 50

Because a woman of 50-plus is most often long past having children, it may seem unnecessary to use a condom - especially since the connection with condoms was birth control.  Today there are a lot of older men in the dating circuits and they date many different women, often younger as well as older.  They too seem to have the false notion that since mature women won't get pregnant, why bother with protection?  The consequence is that STDs are abounding.  Some Boomers are still doing what they did in the '60s, smoking pot and doing drugs, and they are contracting disease through intravenous needles.  Another method of infection is through the young gay population who are having sex with older people who do not use protection.

Woman, Protect Yourself From STDs

Safe Sex is safe when precautions are taken to ensure it.  The use of latex condoms, regular testing by a physician and discretion are all good means of prevention of STDs for mature women returning to an active sex life.

 

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