In one of his works, Roald Dahl once famously said that ‘the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.’ Unfortunately, one of these secrets has been spreading faster than wildfire and is out in the open, a concern that must be dealt with.
That secret is the spread of STDs in nursing homes. Yes, STDs. The sexually transmitted disease that transfers from person to person during intercourse. STDs are spreading fast among seniors in such dwellings and increasingly becoming a household concern among healthcare professionals and family members of said patients.
Types of STDs among nursing homes
More and more elderly seniors are sexually active. When you think about the nursing home, it might not seem like it can be a place where STDs prevail. However, an outbreak of STDs in nursing homes is becoming not just a concern but also a problem in assisted living, or even independent living facilities. The most common STDs among elderly populations include HIV, chlamydia, syphilis, Gonorrhea, and other infections like Shigella and Meningococcal disease, which are spread through contact.
Why are STDs common in a nursing home?
People over a certain age like to believe they are in the race’s final leg; that is life. And while age is just a number, it does not hurt to live life to the fullest. Single senior members, male and female, would engage in sexual activity without often giving it too much thought. As a result, no one stops questioning and asking about medical history. That is why elderly people’s STDs in nursing homes are rapidly increasing across major senior living faculties across the U.S.
What to know about rising STD rates among seniors?
Now, if you want to know about the statistics of it all, beware, it can be an eyesore and just as bad as the disease itself.
According to surveys, 73% of respondents between 57-64 were recognized as sexually dynamic. About 53% of respondents between the ages of 65-74 were also active sexually, while another 26% of those aged 75-85 were actively involved. All in retirement or communal living societies for seniors. The STDs in nursing homes statistics get even scarier. STD rates have also increased by 260% from 2008 to 2020. During this time, Chlamydia and Syphilis infections among 65+ rose by 31% and 52%, respectively. This is concerning considering the other health concerns seniors have to deal with.
Furthermore, among more than 580,000 cases, Gonorrhea increased by 5%, the highest recorded number in the U.S. since 1991. In addition, stds in nursing homes data shows that seniors over the age of 55 and above have been contracting infections.
How are infections spread in nursing homes?
The rate of STDs in a nursing home is quite high because the infection spread often goes unchecked. See, teens and young adults are taught about safe sex early in their lives. But for senior adults, it is usually not brought up as a topic (because they know what they need to).
It has been reported that senior adults are more open about their sexual activities, including experimentation, particularly in communal societies for the elderly.
Even if a person is aware of STDs, they hide it out of fear of being a social outcast or the stigma. As a result, the infection rate of STDs in such facilities over the last few years has rapidly spread.
6 Reasons STDs common in nursing homes
STD rates have been rising drastically for 55+ aged populations in senior living communities. Lack of awareness regarding STDs and the spread of disease with sexuality-related misconceptions in nursing homes are the primary reasons for the increase.
Knowing why the infection is spreading and its reasoning is always best. BoomersHub has listed the top 6 reasons why STDs in nursing homes in 2022 have become so common.
Many elderly feel that they can have unprotected sexual activities as they do not have to worry about getting pregnant. However, anyone at any age can get STDs.
It can be a matter of embarrassment to some seniors to have STDs or other sexual issues at this age, and they avoid getting tested and taking treatment by visiting health care providers. In doing so, if they are sexually active, they spread infections to other people.
Before, there was limited sex education. As a result, many seniors do not have the correct information regarding protected sexual activity and how STDs can spread from person to person.
Men’s E.D. medication
Drugs like Viagra (sildenafil) and Cialis can increase their libido and help them ease and maintain their intimate relationships. In doing so, many who were not able to have sex due to erectile dysfunction can stay sexually active and may potentially pass on STDs to their partners.
Women may also take drugs like Addyi and Vyleesi to increase their libido. Vaginal estrogen, estrogen hormone replacement, moisturizers, and lubricants are some options for women that may be used after menopause to maintain their sexual life. But all these can be a factor in the spread of STDs.
With longevity of age increases the chance of getting STDs as their immune system gets weak. Women going through their postmenopausal phase may often suffer from thinning vaginal tissues and dryness. These thinning tissues during sex make the infection susceptible to entering the body.
How to protect seniors from STDs in nursing homes
Prevention and treatment are necessary as sexual health is important at all ages. Here are a few ways for sexually active seniors to protect themselves against STDs and have a healthy sex life:
Sex education can prevent the spread of STDs among seniors. Many of the risks involved with the sexual health of seniors can be prevented by having a conversation with your loved ones. In addition, the transmission of HIV can be prevented by the use of condoms. Talking about condom use and safe sex etiquette can save lives.
2. Availability of protection
Free condoms are made available for patients in most healthcare clinics. Similarly, the residents of the nursing homes should get free access to condoms, and they should be made aware of the proper use of condoms which will help to reduce STDs among seniors.
3. Getting proper medication
The major STDs seen among older populations in nursing homes are chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea infections. Other than these, three types of STDs can spread among the elderly: bacterial, viral, and parasitic. The bacterial infections of Gonorrhea and chlamydia can be treated with medication.
4. Getting regular STD tests
One can protect oneself by undergoing regular STD tests. Getting regular STD check-ups is important if you or your family member or elderly friend is sexually active.
5. Getting treated fast
If your STD test in the facilities gives you a positive result, then it is important to get treated as soon as possible. If needed, the elderly in nursing homes can request an appointment from their in-house doctor or nurse or visit a primary care facility.
6. Making your partners aware
If you have a positive result for STD, then you must tell your previous partners immediately and tell them to get a test. This way, the further spread of the STD can be prevented.
If you have ever wondered, ‘are STDs common in nursing homes’, well, now you know. Therefore, it is better to be aware, be informed, and even better to spread this knowledge, not the disease.
Is there a high rate of STDs in nursing homes?
STDs in nursing homes are rapidly growing to be a problem. With the widespread availability of sexual performance-enhancing drugs and therapy, STDs among sexually active senior adults have increased in nursing homes across the country. Over the last seven years, the STD rate in nursing homes and assisted living centers has risen.
Are STDs bad in nursing homes?
STDs are a serious health hazard in nursing homes since it affects seniors, who are already at a complicated age. It is a problem because senior men over 60 that use E.D. drugs for sexual activity with postmenopausal women can lead to unprotected sex, leading to a higher rate of getting infected with STDs.
Do seniors have high STD rates?
Seniors living in nursing homes have a high chance of getting STDs, mainly because they have a weakening immune system. As a result, the rate of STDs in America among seniors in nursing homes is high. Unfortunately, they are less likely to discuss this openly, increasing the chance of spreading the disease.
What are the 20 types of STDs?
Many types of STDs are more or less related to one another. But more commonly, the STDs are:
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Is chlamydia common in older adults?
It is quite common among senior adults, particularly those living in senior living facilities like nursing homes. The rate of STDs in older adults has been rising, and chlamydia is quite common among those infections. Sexually active older are at risk for diseases such as syphilis, herpes, and commonly chlamydial infection.