Just because you’re over age 50 does NOT mean you can’t get a sexually transmitted infection (STIs). As a matter of fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 60 percent of folks over age 60 have sex at least once a month and are rarely considered to be “at risk” of an STI. Even folks who are no longer having sexual relations may still have an STI that they were never treated for in earlier years, and the side effects of their infections may be easily mistaken for other diseases of aging.
Symptoms or no symptoms
If you’ve had unprotected sex it is better to be safe than sorry. Many people with STIs do not get symptoms, so it would be a wise move to get tested even if you feel fine. If you think you might have contracted an STI, it is better to get tested and treated sooner than later.
When someone has an STI, they might not even notice the symptoms that can accompany it. Gonorrhea, for example, can be asymptomatic in over 80 percent of women and in 10 to 20 percent of men. When a woman does have gonorrhea symptoms, they are so mild and nonspecific and can be easily be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. If gonorrhea remains undetected and undiagnosed for a long period of time, the infection is likely to spread and affect other parts of the body. Patients who have carried gonorrhea for a long time are at risk of complications and may begin to experience gonorrhea symptoms months or even years after the infection.
There is no question, STIs can affect your overall health, so if you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, get tested:
In both men and women:
- pain when urinating
- itching, burning, genital tingling
- blisters, sores, spots, lumps around genitals or anus
- black powder or tiny white dots in underwear (pubic lice droppings or eggs)
- yellow or green discharge
- smelly discharge
- bleeding after sex
- pain during sex
- lower abdominal pain
- discharge from penis
- irritation of the urethra (the tube that urine comes out of)
Just because you might be experiencing the symptoms mentioned does not mean you have an STI, but it would be well worth your while to investigate and receive treatment if need be. The best bet to protect yourself against STIs is to get tested every few months and between new partners.
All about condoms
BTW, you are not too old to get schooled on how to buy the right condoms in order to avoid passing on or catching an STI. Use condoms that are made of latex which is a type of rubber. If you suffer from a latex allergy, consider buying condoms that are made of soft plastics like polyurethane, polyisoprene, and nitrile. Steer clear of the lambskin type of condoms and other animal membrane ones because they only prevent pregnancy and DO NOT protect you from STIs.
Since erectile dysfunction (ED) is pretty common among older men, don’t worry if you lose your erection while wearing a condom. If this happens, you should change condoms. Just take the condom off, and once your penis is hard again, roll on a new one.
Condoms can last quite a while, but they will break down with age especially if you do not store them properly like in a cool, dry place and away from sharp objects and direct sunlight. Make sure your condoms DO NOT have holes and have not expired.
Remember, condoms will do the trick if they are used correctly every single time you have vaginal intercourse, oral and anal sex. Make sure the condom stays on from…”GO” and right through until the very end!