Sexually transmitted diseases are exploding in the senior citizen population in Oklahoma.

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STD rates explode among Oklahoma’s senior citizen population | News |


Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have seen a significant increase among senior citizens in Oklahoma, with reported cases quadrupling, according to the latest decade of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When comparing STD cases reported from 2010 to 2019, the numbers show a staggering 695% increase in gonorrhea and a 136% increase in HIV cases among Oklahomans aged 55 and older.

This dramatic rise, while disheartening, doesn't surprise William Andrews from the Oklahoma State Department of Health's Sexual Health and Harm Reduction Service, who cites an increase in assisted living facilities and senior living centers as a contributing factor. Additionally, the study found a 518% surge in chlamydia cases among older Oklahomans.

Dr. David Chansolme, an infectious disease expert with Integris, suggests that the rise can be attributed to more accurate and readily available testing, as well as medical advancements that have allowed individuals to maintain sexual activity later in life. Both Chansolme and Andrews express concern about seniors' lower likelihood to use protection due to a lack of concern about pregnancy, especially among those who are divorced, widowed, or encountering new sexual partners after a considerable duration.

Andrews proposes that to mitigate this escalating trend, it's crucial to address the deficiency of sexual health information among older adults and their hesitance to discuss it with their physicians. He emphasizes the importance of fostering open conversations about sexual health in healthcare settings. Despite all STD trends being concerning, experts highlight that while some diseases are easily treatable, others like HIV and syphilis pose a more significant threat.