MIAMI (CBS4) – Among Americans 55 years and older, cases of sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise. The problem is so bad, Medicare may soon add STD screenings as a covered benefit.
And here are some reasons why: we all know it takes two to tango.
Paula May is single and over 55 and she loves to dance especially the tango.
“It’s a dance of love. It’s a dance of passion and it’s a two minute love affair.”
While it takes to tango all she wants to do is dance.
But if love comes her way, “never say never because you never know when you are going to meet your soul mate.”
Americans living longer, plus drugs like Viagra, equal more sex later in life.
“No more rocking chairs on the porch. This generation is active in bed,” said Human Sexuality Expert Katherine Forsythe.
Geriatrician Dr. Walter Bortz agrees.
“We’ve matured and one of the great maturations is that we’re learning you can have great sex your whole life,” said Bortz.
But older Americans are also discovering along with good sex comes a big problem: sexually transmitted diseases.
A federal report shows among those 55 and older, that the number of reported cases of Syphilis and Chlamydia has soared.
In just 5 years, these STD rates have jumped nearly 50%.
The reason? Those who survived the summer of love did not grow up during the AIDS epidemic.
“They grew up in a generation of free love and didn’t learn sexual habits that predated that that included protection against STDs,” added hormone expert Louanne Brizendine.
Men in their 50s are six times less likely to use a condom than men in their 20s.
And older Americans are less likely to get tested for STDs.
“So that’s really scary. When we think about online dating or hooking up with people where you don’t know where they’ve been or what they’ve done,” Forsythe said
She encourages boomers and more mature adults to carry condoms and to ask dates for medical proof they’re clean.
“I tell my people no papers, no partner,” said Forsythe.
According to Florida Department of Health data, Miami-Dade and Broward counties have more cases of STDs among 65 and older residents than 62 other counties in Florida combined.