Florida Officials Asking Youth to Teach Elders About Safe Sex

Florida officials want young people to talk to older people about sex, but not to get advice. Instead, officials hope older adults will learn a thing or two about the risks of HIV/AIDS.

Florida is experiencing a "graying" of HIV and AIDS, according to the Miami Herald.

Nearly 20 percent of new HIV infections in Florida involve people over the age of 50. By 2015, most people with HIV and AIDS will be over the half-century mark. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), this is because older Americans are simply unaware of the importance of using condoms and talking about their sex lives with their doctors.

"For many people, when we discuss this at senior complexes or groups, no one's ever had this discussion with them," said Evelyn Ullah, the STD, HIV and AIDS prevention director with the Broward County Health Department. As a result, said Ullah, "they don't perceive themselves at risk."

However, since many older people are living single, dating, and are more sexually active than ever, the need to talk to older people about the risk is crucial.

It may not be how "the talk" usually works, but officials are urging young people to give it a try.

"It's gonna be embarrassing," said Marlene LaLota, HIV prevention director for the state. LaLota recommends young people start the conversation by talking about dating issues. If that fails, leaving literature out on the table can help.

"Anything that gets the ball rolling," said LaLota. "Remember, the roles were reversed once upon a time - where it was the mother having the conversation with the daughter 30 or 40 years ago."

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