Sexual Health Wednesday February 13, 2013

Why STIs are not the gift you want this Valentines Day

Valentines Day is traditionally the day that romantics across the world celebrate love. Hence the grand and romantic gestures comprising of flowers, confectionery, champagne and above all else the intimate time with your loved one, signifies the emergence of this romantic holiday. For a fun and safe Valentines it is advised that you follow the three C’s – card, candy and condoms, with the latter being the most important. With sexually transmitted infections on the increase in the UK, sexual health and sexual health awareness are more important now than ever. According to the Daily Mail, a report by the Health Protection Agency, which claims that STIs among older adults has doubled in the past 10 years, is therefore somewhat alarming.

STI increase among the over 50s

According to the report in the Student Biomedical Journal, 80% of men and women between the ages of 50-90 years old are still sexually active. However, an editorial discussion held at St Thomas’s hospital London, reported that STI’s including gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and syphilis had significantly become increased within this older demographic. According to The Sun, statistics include a 41% increase of 45 to 64 year olds who have had gonorrhoea, and 58% more women over the age of 60 who are divorced between 2001 to 2012, considered by researchers to be one of the key elements behind the increase.

Factors in rising STIs

One factor that contributed to the rise of STIs among the older generation, claimed by the report is the advancement in medication, which has helped to prolong people’s health and likewise their life expectancy. Likewise according to sex therapist, Ian Kerner, other factors, which have contributed, include the data which shows that those 50 or over are also among the fastest rising demographics in online dating. Likewise many men on the other hand believed that using condoms contributed to erectile dysfunction, thus contributing to their unwillingness to use them.

Common STI misconceptions

Perhaps what is more shocking as discussed by the report is the belief by many older women who have passed menopause that using a condom is not necessary and subsequently, is not required. Hence most women think about the risks of pregnancy, viewing condoms as simply for contraception purposes. They fail however, to consider the dangers and risks of STIs, with many divorces believing STIs to be a young disease, experienced by only young people.

Sex education

Typically sexual awareness campaigns are aimed at younger people particularly at the under 25s in which STIs such as chlamydia have been commonly rife. However, these new statistics, which show the increase of STIs cases in the older generation, though concerning also shows that sexually transmitted infections do not discriminate and that using barrier contraception such as condoms is required at any age for safe sex.

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