STIs are on the rise in older Aussie women

Whether you’re 17 or 70, sexual health is a hugely important thing to pay attention to. But new research shows it’s older Aussies who are seemingly letting their guard down. 

When you think of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), you might have a disturbing flashback to that time you got chlamydia in your first year of uni. But a new study shows STIs are on the rise among older Aussies.

National records between 2000 and 2018 of STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are growing at a faster rate, particularly among women between the ages of 55 and 74.

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Louise Bourchier, a PhD student at the University of Melbourne’s School of Population and Global Health said older women need to pay attention to their sexual health.

“There is an assumption that older adults are not sexually active or people might be thinking they might be sexually active with a long-term partner, and they’re not thinking about new partners,” Ms Bourchier said, per AAP.

There could be many reasons for this. The study suggested that because older adults may not perceive themselves at risk of STIs may not take the necessary precautions, while post-menopausal women might be less concerned with condoms as they don’t have unplanned pregnancy to worry about.

But it could be a generational thing, too, with the rise of the Pill and a new frontier of sexual freedom.

“The baby boomer generation came of age with access to the contraceptive pill and before the HIV crisis of the 1980s so it was a period of relative sexual liberalism,” Ms Bourchier said.

“It’s likely that those people are taking those attitudes into their older years.”