June 25, 2012

Sexually Transmitted Infections rise in Adults

By Ashley Strauss, Ivanhoe Health Correspondent

(Ivanhoe Newswire) - We have heard about sexually transmitted infections among teenagers, but current research has shown older adults (25 years and older), are being diagnosed at a rapid rate with a STI.

According to statistics, 1 in 30 baby boomers will contract hepatitis C, 20 million older adults will be diagnosed with HPV, 3 million will be infected with chlamydia, and 1 out of 6 with herpes.

The problem with STIs is that they are spreading at a high rate, and majority of people contracting them are unaware they have a STI. "For every million cases we report, there are about 2 million under reported, that is where the public comes in, testing testing testing," said Mimi Secor who is a nurse practitioner, with 35 years specializing in women´s health.

One of the reasons for this is 70% of STIs, such as herpes are asymptomatic. "A common misconception of herpes is that an individual knows when they are shedding, but in majority of cases this is not true," said Secor. Another problem is that STIs increase the risk of contracting other STIs, for example if an individual has HIV; they are much more likely to contract HPV.

There are some symptoms one can keep an eye out for, such as frequent urination, discolored discharge, pain during intercourse, and unusual smell of the genital area. Secor suggests that if you have doubts or concerns, go see your doctor.

"The problem is the older populations are not as aware about STIs as much as the younger generations," Secor added. Secor prescribes what she references as the three T´s, "Test early, treat, and test even after cure." The more often a patient gets tested, the less likely they are to pass on a STI. Secor suggests that on average, "a patient should get tested every three years, or in between sexual partners."

"Even though we are always thinking young people with STIS, we need to just broaden the playing field and say human beings need to think about sexually transmitted infections," Secor said

SOURCE: American Academy of Nurse Practioners Conference in Orlando Florida June 20-24, 2012. Interview with Mimi Secor.