Top 8 STDs Common Among Seniors

5 minute read

By Dorathy Gass

You might raise an eyebrow around the idea that seniors contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STD) is on the rise, but it is in fact true. Start a search today to find the common STDs among seniors.

Older adults are back on the dating scene, due to an increase in divorce rates, as well as some becoming single after losing a spouse. For these reasons, seniors’ sexual activity is often increased which places them at high risk for STDs.

8. Chlamydia

A very common STD among all age groups is chlamydia. However, this is on the rise among seniors. As per a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cases for the condition have almost doubled for the 55- to 64-year-old age group from 2012 to 2016.

Caused by the Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria, the condition can affect the urethra, cervix, rectum, eyes, and throat. Sometimes, symptoms are so mild that they are mistaken for another condition.

Having said that, some signs that both females and males can experience include:

7. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

HIV is a chronic condition that has no cure. The illness attacks a person’s immune system. Eventually, it develops into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

According to the CDC, those aged 50+ accounted for 17 percent of new HIV cases across America in 2016. This demographic totaled close to 6,900 individuals affected by HIV.

Patients experience flu-like signs and symptoms of the illness, which include:

6. Gonorrhea

Caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria, this STD can be spread via unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. As per a report conducted by the CDC, gonorrhea cases more than doubled for the 55+ age group between 2012 and 2016.

For many, the infection results in no symptoms. However, individuals that do experience symptoms of gonorrhea can be affected in several areas of the body. For both men and women, signs of gonorrhea can manifest in the throat, rectum, joints, and eyes.

Some common signs of gonorrhea are:

5. Syphilis

This STD is caused by the Treponema pallidum bacteria. Additionally, syphilis can be contracted via a blood transfusion, sharing unclean needles, breastfeeding, or an organ transplant.

In 2015, 4,848 cases of syphilis were reported in the U.S. This was an increase from just over 3,100 in 2012.

Some signs and symptoms include:

4. Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

As the most common condition within the STD umbrella, males and females alike that partake in unprotected sex are vulnerable to HPV. This illness can result in genital warts and cancers of the vulva and cervix.

For those whose HPV results in genital warts, harmless growths pop up on the surface of one’s vagina, vulva, cervix, scrotum, penis, or anus. These growths become uncomfortable or itchy.

On the other hand, those who develop cancer may not see signs of the condition until further down the line. This characteristic of HPV makes regular checkups extremely necessary.

3. Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)

This STD falls under two types: HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is primarily linked with oral infection, while HSV-2 is generally linked with genital infection.

While there is no cure to the condition, herpes is not a life-threatening condition. While it can be uncomfortable, it does not affect a person’s immune system and is not considered a “dangerous” condition.

The main symptom of the condition appears in the form of a blister or cluster of blisters. The blister(s) form in and around the affected region, be it the genitals, rectum, or mouth.

2. Trichomoniasis

Worldwide, trichomoniasis is thought to be the most common non-viral STD. This condition tends to occur to those who have multiple sex partners. In fact, according to a 2017 report, the prevalence of the condition rises with the number of partners — and age when it comes to African American females.

The common signs and symptoms of this STD include:

1. Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a chronic and highly contagious virus that attacks one’s liver. Due to the symptoms and infection of hepatitis B, patients can suffer from complications and even death.

Signs of the condition can appear anywhere from 45 days to six months after exposure. This time span is known as the “incubation period” for the illness.

Some common signs of the illness are:

Prevention Tips

Why are STDs on the rise within seniors?

One reason is that many individuals don’t talk to their doctor about it because they are reluctant to do so. Additionally, age and immune system health are factors in the rise of STDs among seniors.

Medications like sildenafil (Viagra) make it that much easier to engage in sex at older ages. Seniors are also not accustomed to thinking about STDs due to the generation they grew up in.

Some STD prevention tips for seniors include:

Learn More About STDs Today

Intimacy is important to every adult, regardless of age. However, the risks around STDs are also prevalent for anyone engaging in sexual activity. The best way to protect your health is to get informed.

STD education, awareness, and preventative measures are key for seniors to ensure they stay happy and healthy, well into their golden years! Start a search today to learn more about common STDs and what you can do to protect your health.

Dorathy Gass