Free condoms will be offered to PENSIONERS in an NHS campaign to tackle soaring STI rates in the over-60s blamed on ‘rising divorce rates and a boom in online dating’
- First NHS campaign of its kind – Jiggle, Wiggle – will hand the contraception out
- Women who can no longer get pregnant may be putting themselves at risk
- Number of over-65s who caught common STIs rose by 14% from 2016-to-17
Free condoms will be offered to sexually-active pensioners in Derbyshire to combat rising rates of STIs among the over 60s.
In the first NHS campaign of its kind – named Jiggle, Wiggle – local services will hand out the contraception at GP surgeries, as well as community venues and food banks.
Rising divorce rates and a boom in online dating are thought to be fueling the spread of sexually transmitted infections.
Free condoms will be offered to sexually-active pensioners in Derbyshire (stock)
The new campaign is run by Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust.
It will target those aged 35 or over in 11 locations across Derbyshire.
‘There has been a rise in the number of STIs and HIV diagnosis in older residents and this group of people are sometimes forgotten in sexual health campaigns and interventions,’ a trust spokesman told The Telegraph.
‘The campaign will target an older demographic, making it clear that safer sex still applies and also promoting that sexual health services are for them too – challenging their view that services are “not for them”.’
WHAT IS GONORRHOEA?
Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae or gonococcus.
This bacteria is usually found in discharge from the penis or vaginal fluid.
It is passed through unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex, as well as sharing vibrators or sex toys that have been used without a condom.
The bacteria can infect the cervix, urethra, rectum, throat or eyes.
It can also spread from pregnant women to their unborn babies.
As the bacteria cannot survive outside the body for long, gonorrhoea is not spread by kissing, hugging, sharing towels, toilet seats or swimming.
Around one in 10 men and half of women experience no symptoms.
However, these can include:
- Thick green or yellow discharge from the genitals
- Pain when urinating
- Bleeding between periods in women
Treatment is usually a single antibiotic injection and tablet.
Gonorrhoea can be prevented by using condoms during sex and not sharing sex toys.
Source: NHS Choices
The project’s general manager Rebecca Spencer wants STI services to be available to all ages, despite the infections being most common in people aged 15-to-24.
‘If you’re having sex, looking after your sexual health matters,’ she said.
‘We want to try and reduce the number of infections across all age groups.’
Chlamydia screening in Derbyshire is poor.
There is also a low uptake of HIV testing, particularly among men.
As a result, 50 per cent of adults diagnosed with the virus in 2017 were at a late stage of infection.
Figures from Public Health England revealed the number of over-65s who caught common STIs rose from 1,411 in 2016 to 1,608 in 2017 – a 14 per cent increase.
Syphillis, one of the less common infections, was three times as prevalent among over-65s last year as 2017.
Meanwhile, the number of people in the same age group contracting gonorrhoea more than doubled and chlamydia cases increased by 49 per cent.
Other infections included genital herpes, which increased by 36 per cent.
An expert warned in October that more people are getting STIs because of a rise in the use of dating apps.
Apps such as Tinder and Bumble have been accused of making it easier for people to have casual sex and switch quickly between partners.
STIs among the elderly is a growing problem, with the 44-page brochure ‘Older People in Care Homes: Sex, Sexuality and Intimate Relationship’ being released last November.
‘While the majority of the patients we see in clinic are younger, it’s not uncommon to see people in their 60s or 70s,’ Dr Mark Lawton – a sexual health consultant, and member of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV – told the Express.
‘In fact, the oldest patient I’ve seen was 91 and he was still enjoying a healthy sex life.
‘It’s important to remember that age doesn’t make you immune to STIs so using condoms and getting tested are still important.’