Internet dating and Viagra are among the suspected causes of a sharp increase in sexually transmitted diseases in people over the age of 45, according to research coming out of the UK.
On the rise
Despite the slew of sexual health campaigns urging people to avoid unsafe sex, it seems the message still isn't getting across. New statistics from West Midland health protection authorities show that sexually transmitted infections are on the rise, and not just in young adults, but also in the more mature.
The new study to be published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections shows that men are the most likely to be affected, with an increase in herpes, syphilis, gonorrhoea and genital warts.
If it's not on, it's not on
Previous sexual health campaigns and awareness programs have concentrated primarily on the under-25s, but this latest research demonstrates that sexual risk-taking is also a trend in the over-45s.
"Older people are increasingly likely to be single or undergoing relationship changes," says Dr Babatunde Olowokure from the UK Health Protection Agency's regional surveillance unit in Birmingham. On top of this, he says, "[Older people are also] less likely to consistently use condoms, perhaps because the risk of pregnancy no longer exists."
"Increased international travel, Internet dating, new drugs to counter erectile dysfunction and overlapping sexual networks may also be factors," he says.