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Seniors having sex leads to a spike in sexually transmitted diseases

Seniors having sex leads to a spike in sexually transmitted diseases.

Seniors living in retirement communities all over Florida are having sex which is leading to an alarming trend in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

The rise in STDs include chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.

The spike is spelling big trouble for professionals in the medical field and for families with loved ones in senior communities.

Larry Siegel is a Sexologist, Professor, and radio host of a weekly program called, Sex Talk.

One of his key areas of focus is seniors and sex.

Siegel says it is time to "have the talk" with your grandparents.

"Physicians don't talk to older people about sex," he said. "They certainly don't talk to them about STIs or HIV and the reality is, most doctors don't talk to anybody about sex or sexuality."

SPIKE IN REPORTED CASES

Siegel said the sexually transmitted disease and infection rate is alarming.

“That's only going to increase, not decrease," he said.

According to AARP, the most up to date numbers on this subject come from a nationwide STD surveillance report for the year 2016.

There were nearly 83,000 known cases of gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia among seniors.

That was a 20 percent increase from the previous year and the uptick continues here in Florida.

Florida Health Department records show in 2016, there were 5,587 cases of gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia in Palm Beach County.

A 13 percent increase from the previous year.

“Physicians don't talk to older people about sex," Siegel said. "They certainly don't talk to them about STIs or HIV and the reality is, most doctors don't talk to anybody about sex or sexuality."

LEADS TO OTHER HEALTH ISSUES

Even though doctors might blush, some seniors are perfectly comfortable talking about sexuality.

Joan Johnson is a 70-year-old retired paralegal living in a Boca Raton retirement community.

She has a steady boyfriend and her attitude about sex is that it's a part of life and safe sex is everyone's responsibility, regardless of age.

“You’ve got to be safe or than you’re sorry,” Johnson said. “It is just a natural thing, if you want have sex with somebody, then it should be discussed.”

Siegel said Joan should be an example for the rest of Florida's seniors.

He said with the prevalence of Viagra and no risk of pregnancy, unprotected sex is rampant in retirement homes.

And, seniors might feel they’re not going to live long enough to experience symptoms.

But if left untreated, gonnorrhea can cause blood problems and make arthritis worse.

Gonorrhea can lead to a disseminated gonococcal infection and that can be life threatening.

USE PROTECTION

CBS12 News learned that condom use among seniors is rare and that's something the Florida Department of Health wants to change.

“Throwing condoms at it is not the answer. Motivation to use the condoms — that is the answer,” Siegel said. “All senior living communities should make condoms freely available to anybody”.

Johnson says women should have no reservations about asking a man to use a condom, but the condom talk should occur before things heat up.

“I think you have to get to know somebody," she said. "I mean, to me, no matter what age, it’s been you don’t just jump into bed with somebody you don’t know. That would be very uncomfortable. You want to form some kind of bond with somebody, to know where it’s going before you get intimate."

Doctors say regular sex is good for the body for those healthy enough to handle it.

Sex lowers levels of anxiety and depression, as well as blood pressure, and it’s good for the heart.

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