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Sexually Transmitted Infections Rising Among Older Adults

Steady increase seen in rates of chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea and syphilis

MONDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- Between 1996 and 2003, the rate of sexually transmitted infections other than HIV more than doubled among people older than age 45 in the United Kingdom, according to a report published online June 27 in Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Adam Bodley-Tickell, of the Health Protection Agency West Midlands, Regional Surveillance Unit in Birmingham, U.K., and colleagues analyzed 1996-2003 data from the regional enhanced sexually transmitted infection surveillance system for chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea, and syphilis.

The researchers identified 4,445 cases of sexually transmitted infections among people aged 45 and older. Between 1996 and 2003, they found that the proportion of older people seen at genitourinary medicine clinics increased from 3.7 percent to 4.3 percent, and that the rate of sexually transmitted infections in this age group more than doubled. They also found that those at highest risk were men and people aged 55 to 59.

"Existing sexual health programs do not adequately cater for older individuals and will require an understanding of the risk factors applicable to this sub-group of the population in order to reverse the rising trends observed in this study," the authors conclude. "There is therefore a need to support a program of good quality (both qualitative and quantitative) research that can contribute to effective planning and implementation of intervention strategies that, while aiming to reduce sexually transmitted infections among all age groups and high risk sub-groups, include interventions aimed specifically at older people."

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