Seniors & STDs: April is Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness Month
In this day and age, you’d think that nursing homes main focus would be preventing pneumonia and the flu from spreading rampantly throughout the facility. You’d think that retirement community’s main issues would be which band to have play at the summer festival. Maybe you’d consider that ID theft may be the focus of the weekly meeting put on by the local chamber of commerce for your elderly relatives in nursing facilities. But what if I told you that you were wrong, and now the latest meeting for Grandma and Grandpa are on how to prevent STIs and STDs from spreading down their hall in the facility? It’s true, and it’s happening at an alarming rate.
The troubling facts about chlamydia and gonorrhea is that for those over 50, and into their 60s and 70s, the numbers are even higher than the national averages. WebMD states that the numbers, while steadily growing, are also very misleading, as they are ONLY representing the people who have sought treatment and help for their STIs. This is such a cause for concern that Medicare has also said that they will begin covering all sexually transmitted disease testing for the elderly.
In a recent Reuter’s survey, adults over the age of 50 were tested to determine percentage of time a condom was used, or introduced, in a situation that deemed one necessary. The survey showed emphatically, that your children know more than the elderly when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases, and safety. Reuters said their survey showed that 50-year-olds are six times less likely to use a condom than men in their 20s.
This information may be shocking to you, but this is something I deal with working at the School of Loving Arts all the time. Facts are facts, and older people are not comfortable discussing anything intimate openly. This includes safety. Often times, those entering retirement homes or nursing homes do not even think of any sexual aspects to being there. Humans are humans, however, and their need to find pleasure always seems to win out. It may be rough for you to make sure that your elderly and senior relatives are safe in the sexual department, but it really is not as hard as it seems.
Here are a few things that you can do to ensure that your loved ones and senior friends are safe in their sexual ventures.
*Discuss the importance and simplicity of condoms, and give them freely.
*Discuss sexually transmitted diseases: chlamydia, gonorrhea, AIDS/HIV, herpes, and others
*Encourage the complex or facility to offer human sexuality classes or groups on sexual education
*Encourage your loved one or senior friends to be open and communicate in their personal relationships.
The important thing to remember about STIs is that they are treatable when caught early. If you, or someone you know, are having symptoms of any sexually transmitted infection, please seek out your doctor immediately.