Michigan: Sex and the Senior -- What Older Adults Need to Know That Is Not Often Talked About
September 1, 2010
Older adults comprise a small but growing population of residents in the Grand Rapids area with STDs.
"While the absolute numbers seem small, I worry about exponential growth," said Dr. Russell Lampen, an infectious-disease specialist with Spectrum Health Medical Group.
Some researchers attribute the increase in STDs among older adults to the availability of Viagra and other erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs. At the same time, it is possible that people who choose to use such drugs also are less likely to engage in safe-sex practices.
Another explanation is generational. Those who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s may perceive STDs as curable and thus relatively insignificant.
"I think people sort of see these as diseases of adolescence, not something that would affect older people -- something kids get, not adults," Lampen said.
Lampen encouraged health officials to broach the issue of safe sex with older adults, particularly those who are single, and men who request ED drugs.
"Patients need to realize the only safe sex is when they protect [them]selves with a condom. You can't predict which partner is safe by appearance," Lampen said.
Grand Rapids Press
08.09.2010; Paul R. Kopenkoskey
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