STD Rates Skyrocket Among Seniors, Study Finds

New research shows that sexual activity and sexually transmitted diseases have skyrocketed in the past decade among seniors, revealing that they do not practice safe sex.

The Student British Medical Journal (BMJ) reports that 80 percent of British, Canadian, and American seniors, 50 to 90 years of age, are sexually active. According to the report, STD diagnosis for those ages 45 and older doubled from 2000 to 2009.

The study also concluded that the bacterial infections syphilis, chlamydia, and gonnorhea have increased in adults 45 to 65 years of age. 

Certain factors contribute to this rise in STD's among seniors. Women who go through menopause don't see the importance of using a condom. Baby boomers may not keep up with the recent developments in STD knowledge, and are therefore relying on the knowledge of their youth when having sex.

Seniors are especially at risk because they have lowered immune systems, and are therefore more susceptible to infection. Many times, STD prevention advertisements are not targeted towards older generations, but rather those in their 20's and 30's. Regardless, a rise in erectile dysfunction medication has implied that more seniors are sexually active.

"Whilst we have a huge evidence base on what works to educate young people about sex and sexually transmitted infections and we have had lots of campaigns over the years dedicated towards them, we don't have any evidence base on what will work with older adults," the study's co-author Rachel von Simson wrote in an email to the Times Colonist.

 "If all the campaigns older adults see are targeted at young adults, it is not surprising that they might take from that that they are not at risk," von Simson added.

Von Simson, a student at King's College London, wrote the study with Ranjababu Kulasegaram, a consultant genitourinary physician at St Thomas' Hospital London.

HIV rates among seniors have also risen. According to the study, 20 percent of the U.K.'s HIV population is composed of seniors.

As clinical psychologist Judy Kuriansky told CNN Health, "You never have to retire from sex. But you should always behave as the 20-30 year-olds do. You need to be cautious about it."