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STI risks ignored by many over-45s

2nd April 2009

A significant number of middle-aged people are continuing to take an irresponsible attitude to their sexual health, according to a poll conducted by The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.

Crowd

It questioned more than 2,000 adults and almost 20% of those aged 45-54 admitted to having unprotected sex with someone other than a long-term partner in the past five years.

The findings come at a time that sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have doubled in less than 10 years in people over 45, often because those people are less likely to use condoms believing the risk of pregnancy no longer exists.

Recent figures from the Health Protection Agency suggest STIs have been rising at a faster rate than in young people.

The RPSGB says that people in the older age group believe there is a "next to nothing" risk of them catching a STI.

Spokeswoman Heidi Wright said: "The majority of safe sex messages are targeted at teenagers, but as more adults begin new relationships later in life, they quite clearly need advice too.

"You can't always tell who has an STI and infections don't discriminate on the basis of age."

The RPSGB's survey of 2,258 UK adults found older generations were flippant about the risks of catching an STI.

The Department of Health emphasised the message that anyone having unprotected sex potentially puts themselves at risk of an STI with infection rates rising in all age groups.

"Older people also need to be aware of the need to use condoms consistently," said a spokesperson.

 

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