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Rise in STIs among over-50s

Published on 06 February 2012 10:30 AM

The number of sexually transmitted diseases among older people has doubled in ten years, according to a new study.

Across the UK, US and Canada, scientists have found a rise among 50 to 90-year-olds in cases of syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhoea and genital herpes.

The study, by Ranjababu Kulasegaram, consultant genito-urinary physician at St Thomas' Hospital, London, and Rachel von Stimson, a medical student at King's College London, was published in the journal Student BMJ.

It found that post-menopausal women were more vulnerable to STIs due to physical changes, while men using erectile dysfunction drugs were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with an infection within the first year of usage and in the year before starting the drug.

Dr Kulasegaram and Ms von Stimson called on general practitioners to take more responsibility for discussing safe sex with older patients.

Dr Valerie Delpech, head of the HIV department at the Health Protection Agency, said: 'We are seeing increasing rates of HIV and STI infection in older people, perhaps in those coming out of long-term relationships and entering into new partnerships.

'This is a reminder that we can all be at risk of an STI, including HIV, and anyone considering having sex with someone new should have a sexual health screen and use a condom, no matter what age they are.'

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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