STIs are important to know about for young people who are sexually active — whether in a committed relationship or casually sleeping around with various partners — but there’s growing concern about sexually transmitted infections in people over 65 years old, so it’s wise to talk with your grandparents about them, too.
We know that might sound weird to even bring up, but STIs know no age limit. Just because you’re more sexually active as a young adult as opposed to when you’re older, doesn’t mean the older person is at a lesser risk to contract something. That’s scary to think about, but it’s true, and many of those in their 60s never had the sexual education we all had growing up, so it’s on us to help get them caught up to speed.
In a recent article from Express, the number of 60-somethings who are being treated for STIs has hit an all-time high. While a lot of those people lived through an era where unprotected sex was rampant and the norm, because they never thought to get tested back then, they’re experiencing symptoms now related to a variety of STIs. Here’s how all of us, the younger generation who (hopefully) practice safe sex habits, can help make them more aware about how to handle such a situation.
How prevalent are STIs for people over 65 years old?
You may think that STIs are more prevalent in younger people, but, according to the aforementioned Express article, as STI rates drop for the younger generation — which is a positive — STIs are up 14 percent in the past year for 60-somethings. If that doesn’t grab your attention, we don’t know what will
Additionally, these older people may be having more casual sex partners, with some experiencing divorces or becoming widowed, leading them to rely on online dating apps or dating sites to meet more people. Still relatively young — and having drugs like Viagra accessible for performance — these older adults can find themselves in danger or contracting STIs
Which STIs are most popular for people over age 65?
Some of the most popular STIs that 60-something adults are finding themselves with are the exact same ones younger people may contract. According to figures from Public Health England, per the Express article, the number of 60-somethings with one of the main five STIs has risen in the past 12 months, with the infections including warts, herpes and chlamydia.
Even more concerning might be this: In the past five years, the number of 60-somethings who are being diagnosed with syphilis has tripled, with those finding themselves with gonorrhoea more than doubling. In fact, chlamydia cases have increased by 49 percent, with people requiring treatment for herpes sitting around 36 percent in that same timeframe.
Encourage parents or grandparents to go get tested for STIs
This is where you can come in and help those 60-something adults, like parents or grandparents, because you need to encourage them to go get tested for STIs to make sure they’re safe and healthy. Just as you would with a friend who you drink with every weekend to stay safe while having sex, the same should happen for those who you’ve always known as grandma or grandpa, because, they too, could be at risk.
And, if you think that this might not be your responsibility, while the information from the Express article focuses mainly on 60-something adults, a doctor interviewed for the piece, Dr. Mark Lawton, a sexual health consultant, said that his oldest patient was actually 91 years old; so this is a serious issue that the younger generation should try to help address.
Remind them that STIs are treatable
Lastly, whether or not your parent or grandparent are showing symptoms of STIs or not, after encouraging them to go get tested, it’s important to remind them that not STIs are for life. That’s important to remember, because having them understand that STIs can be treatable (and even cured), will help them both physically and, more so, mentally as they go through the process.
Unlike many of us in the younger generation, 60-something adults didn’t have to sit through an awkward sex education class. They didn’t need to open up about sleeping around with casual partners. They didn’t worry about the amount of sexual partners they slept with, just as long as it was a fun experience. And, while that can’t be said for everyone of that age group, many of them lived a life of freedom and casual fun, and aren’t educated enough now about some of the symptoms and issues associated with STIs — so speak up and help them if needed.