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STDs Increase In Seniors

Officials Say Seniors Less Likely To Use Condoms

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Health officials in Florida say many seniors are having unprotected sex and contracting a myriad of sexually transmitted diseases, WPBF-TV in West Palm Beach, Fla., said.

They said seniors are contracting herpes, gonorrhea, HIV and AIDS at alarming rates.

“The population over 60 is having a lot of sex,” said West Palm Beach gynecologist and sexual health expert Dr. Maureen Whelihan.

Whelihan said may of her patients maintain active sex lives well into their 80s. some are having sex in their 90s.

“Some of the barriers to sex when you’re younger are: there’s not enough time, there are kids in the house, there’s no privacy, you’re tired. When retirement occurs, besides traveling, what else is there to do but have great sex?” said Whelihan.

“Three to four times a week. I could, no problem at all,” said Dick Wasil.

Wasil, 79, met his girlfriend, Pauline Martin, 80, at a dance.

“I wasn’t expecting to meet anyone. I’ve been a widow for 12 years,” said Martin.

“She was (there) by herself, had nobody to talk to really (or) somebody to take her out,” said Wasil.

“He asked me to go out to dinner and I said, ‘Fine,'” Martin added.

Three years later, the pair spends nearly every day together.

“We like to go out to eat. We like to go places. We’ve been on many cruises together and we go to the gambling casino,” said Wasil.

When the topic of sex arose, Martin said the conversation was not uncomfortable.

“There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just part of nature,” said Martin.

Wasil and Martin said they are both healthy and monogamous.

However, many seniors are having unprotected sex.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Floridians over the age of 40 have the fastest growing rate of chlamydia cases of the last 10 years. Many of those new cases are seniors.

Chlamydia is an infection that can cause discharge in infected men. In younger women, it can cause reproductive problems. It’s the most frequently reported bacterial STD in the country. There are lots of reasons why so many older people are contracting it and other sexually transmitted diseases.

A major reason is that many seniors are not comfortable discussing the topic, the station said. Also, there are fewer available partners.

“Now that the little blue pill came out and men are functioning, those that are still alive in their 70s and 80s have 10 women to every one guy,” said Whelihan.

Many older men also say they do not wear condoms and their partners are not requiring them.

“They always think about condom use for birth control protection and, of course, none of them are fearful of getting pregnant. and so condom use doesn’t play a role,” said Whelihan.

Whelihan said her patients often ignore the advice to use condoms, so she advises the next best thing.

“Let’s do some routine sexually transmitted screening: HIV, hepatitis, herpes, gonorrhea and chlamydia yearly or every six months or at some interval so we can find these infections and treat them early,” said Whelihan.

There is also information on how to identify and treat sexually transmitted diseases on the Florida Department of Health, Bureau of STD Prevention and Control website. For more information, click here.

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