May 25, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

The health price paid by sexually active 65-year-olds

New research raises important sexual health issues as a result of intense sex life after age 60.

Sexual pleasure, as numerous studies have shown, does not stop after 50 or 60 years. After all, this is natural, since people around the world are now living longer than ever. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the number of people over 60 will almost double by 2050. However, this change also raises sexual health concerns.

In particular, the incidence of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases among people aged 60 to 89 years has increased in some regions of the world, according to a new study published in The Lancet Healthy Longevity.

“HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases are also common among sexually active older population, and not just among young people. That’s why we should focus on this,” says Dr. Evandro Fei Fang, associate professor at the Institute of Clinical Medicine at the University of Oslo.

Dr. Fang and his colleagues analyzed global trends in incidence, prevalence, mortality and life years adjusted for disability from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among older adults aged 60 to 89 years from 1990 to 2019. The study used survey statistics among citizens from 204 countries.

The scientific paper noted that in 2019 alone, there were more than 77,000 new cases of HIV and almost 26.5 million new cases of other STDs in older adults. In addition, the number of infected people is increasing in some regions: “The largest increases were observed in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the high-income Asia-Pacific region. This is a worrying trend,” says Dr. Fang.

Sexually active older adults are often more vulnerable to HIV and other STDs than younger adults. This incidence can be explained by various health conditions, especially the weakened immune systems of older people. However, the picture is more complex as various biological, psychological, cultural and social factors contribute to higher susceptibility.

Along with the longevity of the population, divorce rates are rising, causing older people to take on new partners more often than in the past. However, they do not adhere to prevention methods such as condoms and are less likely to get tested for STDs.

Moreover, health care providers are not always aware of the sex lives of older people. Which leads to insufficient information among older people about sexual health, the risk of contracting HIV and other STDs.

Researchers describe that the widespread use of erectile dysfunction drugs (“Viagra”) and the accessible sex industry in some countries and regions are further fueling the spread of HIV and other STDs among older adults. Indeed, in recent decades, travel to foreign countries has become more accessible for a significant part of the world’s population.

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