STDs Reported on Rise for Arizona’s Aging Population

Health officials have good news and bad news when it comes to Arizona’s seniors. The good news: People are living longer and staying active longer. That includes remaining sexually active well into old age. The bad news: In an environment that includes more liberal attitudes toward sex, divorce, and affairs, more senior citizens are catching sexually transmitted diseases. “We think of older adults being disinterested or asexual, but that’s not true at all. We’re sexually active well into our eighth and ninth decades,” said Marianne McCarthy, associate professor and researcher with Arizona State University College of Nursing and Health Innovation’s Center for Healthy Outcomes in Aging. “But as people get older, they tend not to practice safe sex as often as you’d think,” she added. According to an annual report from the Arizona Department of Health Services, though people 15 to 29 years old reported more STDs than any other age group in 2013, rates among Arizona residents 55 and older are rising. The statewide data shows that rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis have all risen from the previous year. But the report notes gonorrhea is spreading faster among people over the age of 40. In adults over the age of 55, the gonorrhea rate increased to 6.8 cases per 100,000 people in 2013 from 4.9 the previous year, the report said. And the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, which reported more than half of the STD cases in the statewide evaluation, shows even larger increases in its 2014 data.

Source/more: Arizona Republic

David Wingate is an elder law attorney practicing in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland. The elder law practice concentrates on wills, powers of attorney, trusts, asset protection and Medicaid.

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