STD's are have been a health crisis for decades. Some are treatable, some never go away, and for some there is no cure. Most of us think of an STD as one of the perils of being young and reckless. But today a rather unlikely segment of the population has seen a drastic rise in sexually transmitted diseases. Baby boomers.
The Rate of sexually transmitted diseases have doubled among 50 to 90 year olds in the past decade. According to CDC estimates, there were almost 900 cases of syphilis among 45 to 64 year olds in 2000, and in 2010, the number grew to more than 2,500.
In the elderly age group, 6,700 people were diagnosed with chlamydia in 2000, and by 2010, 19,000 were diagnosed. The number of new HIV diagnoses in people over 50 has also doubled between 2000 and 2009.
What's causing the STD boom in baby boomers?
Editorial author Rachel von Simson, of King's College London, told WebMD that all the baby boomers who helped usher in the sexual revolution might have simply stayed sexually active.
"Just like younger people, older people who are sexually active are at risk for STD's.
The most compelling theory is the use of prescription medication as a contributing factor. According to a 2010 study that examined the relationship between the rates of erectile dysfunction and STD's among the elderly, the dramatic rise in STD cases coincides with Viagra's introduction in 1998.
Researchers have come up with a possible solution to the problem. When older men go to see a doctor to get a prescription for a drug like Viagra for erectile dysfunction, doctors should see this as an opportunity to discuss safe sex and the high risks of developing an STD.
Wonder drugs like Viagra and Cialis have resurrected the hopes and dreams, among other things, of people who thought that their days of sexual activity were long gone. But just because science has made it possible for for older men to experience new found virility does not me that it should be explored with reckless abandon. Especially when such daring behavior can result it ones own demise. Anyone who is sexually active, outside of marriage should ask themselves if a few minutes of pleasure is worth a lifetime of pain, or a lost lifetime?!