A study has found that middle-aged adults over 45 years of age are highly prone to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as they are still hesitant to talk about older people having sex. Experts from the UK, Belgium, and the Netherlands have said that negative attitudes towards sexual health and inadequate understanding of the needs of old age make people more ignorant about the risks of unprotected sex. Experts who have been involved with SHIFT, a sexual health initiative have looked at around 800 adults from the south coast of England, northern regions of Belgium, and the Netherlands. They have found that nearly 200 participants have been dealing with socioeconomic disadvantages. Around 80 percent of the participants in the study have been in the age range of 45 to 65 years. The study has found that approximately 58 percent of them, who have been dealing with socio-economic drawbacks, have been in the age group of 45 to 54 years.
Experts have said that major changes in the sexual conduct of people in recent decades have led to a rising number of sexually active old people; however, they are not aware of the risk of having STIs. They have claimed that people have deemed themselves as monogamous, limited to one relationship, which has been the most cited reason for not using contraception. There have been participants who have said that they have not been at risk of unwanted pregnancy, which has led them to have unprotected sex. People over 45 years of age who are going into new relationships after a period of monogamy are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with STIs, said the experts. They have said that such people do not consider STIs as a risk after menopause when there is no risk of unwanted pregnancy.
The study as well has shown that nearly 50 percent of people from the general population and socioeconomically disadvantaged group have never been diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases. Experts have found that stigma and shame have been major obstacles for people to access sexual healthcare services. Many participants of the study have expressed that they have felt that sexual health is a filthy term. Such thoughts play a crucial role in discouraging people from seeking regular sexual healthcare. The study has clearly mentioned that societal stigma that elderly people are asexual and cannot have sex is the biggest hurdle for people who are at a higher risk of STIs. Such assumptions limit awareness about sexual health among sexually active old people. As per the study, a significant number of people have been unaware of the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Around 42 percent of volunteers from the UK and the Netherlands have said that they do not know about the nearest sexual healthcare centers. As per the data, the majority of sexual health promotions are directed towards young people. Therefore, people over 45 years of age who might have received little knowledge about sexual health in school, remain uninformed.