U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance report for 2016 concluded that there were 82,938 cases of gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia reported among Americans 45 and older last year. This is about a 20% increase from 2015, outpacing any other age group in the U.S. population. Conversations about sexual health in long term care communities are becoming more important now than ever before.
There are a few reasons as to why STDs are on the rise in senior long term care communities. With any group of people who are around the same age, relationships will develop naturally. The people primarily living in these long term care communities are also members of the Baby Boomer Generation, meaning that these residents have had little to no sexual education throughout their formative years. All of these components point to why seniors are having unprotected sex, thus causing the spread of STDs.
Healthcare professionals need to understand this issue in order to best address their patients. If a patient is experiencing symptoms of an STD, do not overlook those signs. Talk to your residents about the importance of safe sex and be open-minded to their questions and emotions. Approaching residents about this issue may seem uncomfortable at first, but ultimately this is about the health of individuals and the safety of a long term care community.
South Coast Post Acute understands the needs of our residents, but value their health and safety over everything else. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out.