Older adults having more sex than what is popularly thought. The AARP released a study in 2010 which said that older adults aged 60 to 69 were having plenty of sex: 42 percent of males and 32 percent for females surveyed said that they had sexual intercourse either in the past week or month. For those older than 70, the study showed that 22 percent of males and 11 percent of females reported having sex at least once a month. So although it’s true that people have less sexual activity as they age, there are still plenty of elderly people having sex.
What is HIV and AIDS?
HIV stands for the human immunodeficiency virus that can eventually lead to the acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS. The two types of HIV, HIV-1 and HIV-2, can both damage the body by killing CD4+ T cells, which are blood cells that fight various diseases. AIDS is actually the later stage of HIV. When the virus has makes the progression into AIDS, the immune system is severely impaired and can’t adequately fight most diseases.
How HIV and AIDS is spread
- The virus is spread through unprotected sex (especially with multiple sexual partners).
- AIDS is also spread through sharing syringes used to inject illicit drugs.
- People who are born to an HIV-infected mother can be infected as HIV can be passed during pregnancy or through breast-feeding.
- People receiving blood transfusions can get infected with HIV if the blood they receive is tainted.
Symptoms of AIDS include weakness, fatigue, fevers, weight loss and swollen lymph nodes. Although there is no known cure for AIDS, there are medications available to help control the symptoms and help AIDS sufferers live long lives.
AIDS is still a risk, even for older adults
When you have sex, it’s natural that you open yourself up to catching a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD). The best way to prevent STDs is to practice safe sex: mainly, using a condom. Older men and older women each face unique challenges when dating into their golden years while still trying to remain STD-free.
For older women:
- Many older women who get divorced or widowed and therefore start looking for a new partner.
- Older women can be at a heightened risk for contracting STDs because of vaginal thinning and dryness that’s endemic to elderly women will make that area more susceptible to tears that increases permeability to infection.
For older men:
- Older men are less likely to use condoms and practice safe sex compared to younger men.
- Internet dating makes pursuing sexual partners even easier.
- The use of Viagra is a factor in older men choosing to be with more sexual partners as it may give them more libido to do so.
It should be noted that older adults are not equally affected among STD sufferers. HIV/AIDS rates among older adults are 10-15 times higher among Blacks and about 5 times higher among Latinos when compared to Whites.