As boomers being to transition to retirement communities, assisted living and other senior living settings, a new trend of sexual behavior is gaining momentum and with it the threat of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Surveys from the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project and the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior found that among people age 60 and older, sexual activity was reported by more than half the men and 40 percent of women.
A recent article in the New York Times by public health expert Ezekiel J. Emmanuel, MD, PhD, noted that in 2011 and 2012, 2.2 million Medicare beneficiaries received free STD screenings and more than 66,000 received free HIV tests.
Why the increase? Long-term care settings are likened to college campuses where people look to make connections. And it’s a man’s world in senior retirement settings since women are in the majority. Seniors are now living longer and healthier lives and the big sexual fear—pregnancy—is no longer an issue.
In an atmosphere of new adventure, partners and experiences, these retirees may not even consider condoms and safe sex. Emmanuel suggests a public health campaign highlighting sexual health and responsibility aimed at the senior set.