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Surge in STIs amongst older people

The number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is rising among middle aged Britons. Older people could be at the brink of a crisis in their sexual health, with women aged over 65 most at risk. Clinics have seen a 25 per cent rise in the number of STIs diagnosed in this age group during the last five years. The rise was 15 per cent in men in the equivalent age bracket. While infections among those under 45 have decreased, between the ages of 45 and 64, infections have risen for women and men.

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Risk factors

Older people are now being more sexually active, thanks to aids such as Viagra. However, they are less aware of safe sex practices, and there is little information directly aimed at this age group. Increasing rates of divorce have also contributed to more older people pursuing a range of relationships. There are many guides for dating in later life, such as this report in The Guardian.

Get tested

It appears that the thought of STIs never crosses the minds of many older people, although they are just as much at risk as youngsters. More than 400,000 STIs were diagnosed last year, and at least 30,000 of these were in patients aged over 45. The real figure could be a lot higher, as some people may be infected without realising it, or be too ashamed to go to a clinic to be tested.

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However, getting tested is vital to find out if you have a sexually transmitted disease, not just to treat it, but to stop it being passed on to others. You may be a carrier of an STI without knowing it, and consequences of an untreated infection can be very serious.

If you want to know more about home STI kits Greenwich Sexual Health (https://www.greenwichsexualhealth.org/sti_info/chlamydia/) is able to dispense trustworthy kits, to test for chlamydia and other STIs in the privacy of your own home.

For women in particular, chlamydia is dangerous, as it can lead to infertility. Older men having relationships with younger women should be aware of this, as women with untreated chlamydia may not be able to become pregnant when they want to have children. If you get tested, it is important that your partner is tested at the same time, though not necessarily together.


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