Month: January 2016

Don’t dull-down your Golden Years…STIs on the up in the elderly

STIs on the up in the elderly: Retirement homes, nursing homes and assisted living communities. Images that spring to mind include playing bingo, ballroom dancing and puzzles strewn about a table. But, perhaps surprisingly, sex – unsafe sex – is on a lot of people’s minds. The US Department of Health and Human Services has released figures from 2011 and 2012 showing that over 2.2 million Medicare beneficiaries underwent sexually transmitted infection screenings and counselling sessions.

The CDC has also shown that between 2007 and 2011, the amount of chlamydia infections in over 65s had risen by 31% and by 52% in syphilis infections. The numbers are in a similar vein to the 20-24 year old age group, where chlamydia rates increased by 35% and syphilis by 64%. There is a similar story in the UK, where an increasing number of middle-aged and elderly individuals contracting STIs has been attributed in part to: a high divorce rate, and the availability of drugs to assist male sexual performance. Some other factors which are thought to be behind the rise of STIs in elderly populations include:

  • Retirement communities becoming more like university campuses – by having many people of the same age living together, relationships will naturally occur.
  • People are living longer and are in better health, therefore remaining sexually active for longer.
  • Whilst they may be having more sex, they are not necessarily having safe sex. They don’t need to worry about pregnancy and only 6% of those aged over 60 use a condom.

With statistics like these, it falls to reason that STI testing should be more prevalent in elderly health screenings.

Whilst they are willing to have regular, unprotected sex, they may not be as open to talking about their sexual health with doctors. A larger campaign, raising awareness of the risks of STIs amongst the elderly, could help address this issue.

Confidante, a home STI test kit which tests for 10 of the most common STIs, would help alleviate the problem. By being able to receive your results quickly, and most importantly, in confidence, the elderly are maintaining their independence and preserving their sexual health. Confidante STI Test is available for purchase in the UK and Ireland.

Safe sex message urged ahead of this year’s Belfast Pride Festival

Safe Sex: Sexual health experts are supporting Belfast Pride, to make sure that everyone taking part in this year’s festival; ‘plays safe and stays safe’. Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at particular risk of sexually transmitted infections; latest available statistics from the Department of Health reveal that rates of gonorrhoea and syphilis in Northern Ireland’s MSM community continue to soar.

To tackle the problem, Belfast Pride has teamed up with Confidante STI Test, who have developed the world’s only home test, to detect 10 common STIs. Stephen Henderson, Manager at Confidante STI Test, says partnering with Belfast Pride, is about encouraging men who have sex with men to take action:

“One of the reasons that men who have sex with men, have such high STI transmission rates, is because they don’t get tested; perhaps they’ve had a bad experience previously; or perhaps they aren’t showing any symptoms – even though they are infected; many STIs are asymptomatic. We are encouraging MSM and everyone taking part in Belfast Pride to be proud of their sexual health, protect both their partner and themselves and to get tested.”

Seán Ó Néill, Chair of Belfast Pride Festival, is supporting this focus on Sexual Health:

“This year’s festival is about celebrating Diversity and calling for Equality – and this equality is needed within healthcare services for all citizens including LGBTQ people. We are pleased Confidante STI Test is coming on board as a partner of the festival and offering more choice in Sexual Health testing and we are working with them to get the message across to the MSM community in Northern Ireland, in particular, to play safe and stay safe”.

The safe sexual health message comes ahead of the launch of this year’s Belfast Pride, at Belfast City Hall this evening (Friday), the launch will be followed by the eagerly anticipated Pride Awards hosted by Barra Best and comedian Gemma Hutton.

STIs amongst women who have sex with women (WSW)

WSW – Women who have sex with women (WSW) are a diverse group of individuals in society; with variations in sexual identity, behaviours, practices & risk behaviours. The world of sexual health risks amongst this group however, is poorly understood.

Studies have shown WSW are at particular risk of viral & bacterial STIs, including Chlamydia, Syphilis & Herpes Virus Type 1 & Type 2. These STIs can be caught when exchanging bodily fluids & such transmission is possible amongst this diverse group.

In addition to this, there were 1,713 cases of diagnosed STIs amongst WSW in 2012. Such figures should not be ignored, & for that reason women who have sex with women should be evaluated & presented in the same way as women who have male-only partners.

Many WSW believe they are at low or no risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), yet according to the facts, this is far from the truth. In reality, women who have sex with women are at a similar, although slightly lower, risk of STIs as heterosexual women, & therefore it is very important to get tested. The worry here however is that women who have sex with women are known to access the healthcare system less frequently compared to heterosexual women.

Despite this lack of knowledge amongst these women, they are not entirely to blame when it comes to obtaining the correct facts and figures in terms of their sexual health. It is indeed difficult for WSW to obtain information on sexual health which is directly relevant to their sexual orientations. The main reason for this is the obvious social & institutional barriers that WSW face when they are trying to access healthcare. A surprising 75% of WSW delayed obtaining healthcare for reasons including the stigma attached. The confidentiality & anonymous nature of Confidante provides a solution to this.

Confidante STI Test is the first over the counter product that allows consumers to take control of their sexual health in the privacy of their own home. We provide a solution to this problem of social & institutional barriers, taking the embarrassing aspect out of the equation. Our discreet, home STI test kit can be carried out at home, in private, in 4 easy steps:

  1. Order online/purchase in store pharmacies
  2. Collect the sample
  3. Post back
  4. Receive results (within 7 days).

Look after your sexual health & take the Confidante STI test today.

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