“Sex doesn’t stop just because you’ve hit 50 plus, that’s a fact.”
Alan 87 & Janet 85
Positive sexually transmitted infections test results have risen over the last three years in virtually every age group in Kent & Medway. There are substantial rises in positive test results for gonorrhoea and chlamydia in those aged over 65.
One in five people tested positive for a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) in Kent & Medway between April 1st, 2016 and Nov 30, 2019, according to data from Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCH).
269,534 persons attended a sexual health clinic in Kent & Medway for the period above. Of these, 125,466 were tested for Bacterial STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and syphilis; viral STIs such as genital herpes, HIV/AIDS, and genital warts, as well as parasitic STIs including trichomoniasis.
KCHs data states that one in five of the those tested, or 24,721, tested positive for a known STI.
The age group most likely to test positive for an STI, are those between 20 – 29, who make up 51% of those with a positive test for an STI.
The data provided by KCH proves Alan & Janet to be right. Sex doesn’t stop at 50. This is also supported by a study written up in the British Medical Journal which concluded more than 80% of those aged 50-90 years are sexually active.
STI rates in those over 60 – 69, can in part be explained because, divorce rates in later life are going up and more older people are entering new relationships following a divorce or bereavement. Also most sexual health resources and government campaigns are targeted at young people, contributing to stigma around older people’s sexual health. Virtually every age group saw a rise in most infections but, gonorrhoea and chlamydia saw the biggest proportional increase in people over 65.
What the data also shows is an upward trend in STI’s and an increase in promiscuous unsafe sexual behaviour, across virtually all age groups in Kent & Medway. This promiscuous behaviour has cost Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, £3,855,119.
The fact that more people are coming forward to be tested; and the improvements there have been in the way tests are done, is to be welcomed. But it’s also clear not enough people are taking care of their sexual health.
Since 2013, KCC has had a statutory obligation to provide a range of open access to sexual health services across the county, on a budget of approx £12.9m p.a., supplemented by income from NHS England. Most of this budget is aimed at young people, perhaps it is time for KCC to spread the message to the older age groups to encourage the breakdown of any stigma that over 60s have sex.
If you you need to get checked out for any possible symptoms for any STIs, you can find you nearest sexual health clinic in Kent – here.
The Shepwayvox Team
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