According to a recent New York Times op-ed from Ezekiel J. Emanuel, studies find that STDs are rising in communities of single senior citizens.
Only 5% of seniors on Medicare take advantage of free S.T.D. testing, even though the Centers for Disease Control and Protection find that sexually transmitted disease rates are increasing rapidly among senior citizens. Chlamydia infections increased by 31 percent and syphilis infections increased by 52 percent for for Americans over the age of 65 during the years of 2007-2011. Those are basically the same statistics for Americans in their early 20s, says the report.
The problem? They don't know how to have safe sex and they live like wild college students:
Combine retirement communities, longer life, unfamiliarity with condoms and Viagra — and what do you get? You get an S.T.D. epidemic among the Social Security generation that rivals what we imagine is happening in those "Animal House" fraternities.
Did you read that? "Animal House" fraternities. Emanuel explains that the way retirement communities and living facilities are structured these days, they're basically being run like college dormitories. Well, college dorms minus the nosy RA who's always got condoms up for grabs for students. Not that these seniors would even use them, seeing as how old folks above the age of 61 only use them in 6% of their sexual encounters. But the bottom line is that these seniors are horny as hell:
I mentioned these numbers to a friend, and she was not surprised. When her father moved into an assisted-living facility, she said, three women came by to introduce themselves within 30 minutes.
Emanuel really wants these seniors to use condoms, so much so that he's even suggested Social Security can "include some information on S.T.D.'s and how to use a condom when it sends out checks." But, above all, he wants to take these seniors to 10th grade health class (well, 10th grade health class as its taught today) and teach them to get tested.
If doctors aren't having "the talk," we have to get safe sex counselors more involved at retirement communities and assisted living facilities. These facilities could also consider making condoms readily available, as they often are on college campuses.
Emanuel does not mention whether or not "the talk" will include an unnecessarily horrifying S.T.D. photo Powerpoint, just like the kind that scared the shit out of you in high school health class.
[image via Shutterstock]