September 19, 2011

STD Prevention for Women over 50

(Ivanhoe Newswire)----Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are on the rise for people over 50 years old, and many women don´t have the information they need to make good decisions regarding their sexual health.

According to the CDC, a recent survey shows that 73% of people ages 57 to 64 had reported having sex in the last year. With so many older individuals being sexually active, the risks for STD infections are the same for seniors as they are for younger individuals.

Most of the educational information out there about safe sex practices is directed towards young people, but a recent study shows that older women need and want more information about sexual health and wellness, yet there is no platform directed towards them to obtain the information they need.

The study found there is a great need for improved communications between older women and their doctors about sexual health and also getting these women the tools they need to help them negotiate safe sex practices with their partners.

Dr. Cynthia Morton and colleagues at the University of Florida investigated women´s knowledge about sexual health as they continued to be sexually active in their older years. The women, who were ages 50 and older, participated in focus group discussions and spoke about the challenges in their sex lives; including finding male partners, negotiating condom use and finding credible information to help them make good sexual decisions.
Researchers found that older women are definitely aware of the risks for STDs but feel uncomfortable about obtaining the information from their doctors; they also tend to avoid negotiating condom use due to fears of rejection or conflict with their partners. These women are also very open to tools and strategies to help them communicate with doctors and their partners, but realize there is limited resources for this type of information that is directed at their age group.

“The findings generated from our research offer a rich foundation for better understanding the motivations and concerns that influence senior-aged women´s attitudes about dating at their present stage of life,” Dr. Morton was quoted saying.

The discoveries from this study may lead to new avenues for older women to be able to obtain information on sexual health and to help them gain confidence to speak with their doctors about their needs.  The article also suggests social marketing campaigns aimed to educate older women about sexual risks and to encourage them to take ownership of their sexual health.

SOURCE: The Journal of Consumer Affairs and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention