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If You're This Old, You're at Greater Risk of STD, Study Finds

Sexually transmitted infections aren’t just occurring in younger populations.

According to the CDC, nearly half of the 20 million sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) annually are reported by people between the ages of 15 to 24. However, older Americans make up a good portion of the remaining 50-plus percent—and according to a new study, people over 45 are at a greater risk than ever of catching sexually transmitted infections. Read on to hear why, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

Many People Have Never Been Tested for a Sexually Transmitted Infection

The survey, called the SHIFT sexual health initiative, polled 800 adults across England, Belgium and the Netherlands, 200 of which identified as being socioeconomically disadvantaged. Almost 80% of those in the general population group were between the ages of 45-65, while 58% of those in the socioeconomically disadvantaged group were 45-54. 

Researchers found that over half of the respondents in each category had never been tested for a sexually transmitted infection. Additionally, up to 68% said they "never" use protection, with over 20% explaining that due to their age, there was no risk of pregnancy. 

"Over-45s at most risk are generally those entering new relationships after a period of monogamy, often post-menopause, when pregnancy is no longer a consideration, but give little thought to STIs," lead author Dr. Ian Tyndall explained in a statement.

"Given improvements in life expectancy, sexual healthcare needs to improve its intervention for older adults and vulnerable groups to provide a more utilised, knowledgeable, compassionate and effective service."

The study concluded that "Over-45s are at a higher risk of contracting STIs than ever before because of society's unwillingness to talk about middle-aged and older people having sex." 

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Get Tested for STIs

While the study was conducted in Europe, Dr. Darren Mareiniss, MD, FACEP, Emergency Medicine Physician at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia explains that the results are likely relatable in the United States. However, he does point out that it isn't uncommon to see a higher rate of STIs in a social/economically disadvantaged demographic, which may skew the findings. "This is a confounding factor as STI is a risk in this population," he explains. 

"STDs disproportionately affect disadvantaged people and people in social networks where high-risk sexual behavior is common, and either access to care or health-seeking behavior is compromised," confirms the CDC. As for yourself, get tested for sexually-transmitted disease, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more about Leah
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