STD, increasingly a problem for people over 50

In general, we think of people over 50 as people in a steady relationship. They are married and have adult children. We think that a sexually transmitted disease does not exist in the lives of people over 50. Nothing could be further from the truth, more and more people over 50 have varying contacts. This group is increasingly having a sexual relationship outside of marriage. Unfortunately, they hardly use condoms.


A British study shows that people over 50 have extramarital sex more often than people think. 11,000 heterosexual men and women were surveyed about their sexual relationships over the course of a year. It turned out that 39 percent of men and 20 percent of women have sometimes had sex outside their committed relationship. One in five men even had sex within 24 hours of first meeting. For women this was one in ten. Most of the men did not use a condom. Condom use even decreases as age increases. Between the ages of 16 and 19, 68 percent of men and women used a condom. In the group aged 35 to 44, only 38 percent of men and 28 percent of women used a condom. The group that uses a condom the least are those in their thirties and forties and couples with a greater age difference than five years.

Sexually transmitted diseases

Various studies have been conducted and show that sexually transmitted infections are becoming increasingly common among people over the age of 50. Even HIV is becoming a bigger problem among people over 50. This is evident from a report by the World Health Organization: more than a quarter of AIDS patients are over 50 years old. The increase in HIV among people over 50 is believed to be partly due to the fact that this group rarely uses a condom. More and more people nowadays divorce later in life and often find new sexual partners. This brings new risks, because if you do not have safe sex, you run a high risk of contracting an STD. Because people over 50 are already a little older, healing from an STD often takes longer and there is a chance of more side effects. Many elderly people live under the assumption that STDs only occur in young people. Because of what they have experienced and how they have raised their children, they have become quite naive about the risks they themselves can run.

The most common STD and how to recognize the symptoms

Genital Warts

Women usually have no complaints, but sometimes itching and irritation occur. A wart can develop and sometimes several in a short time. Visible warts may appear on and around the vagina, labia and anus. Hard-to-see warts in the vagina, anus or on the cervix are also possible. Men often have visible warts on the glans, on or under the foreskin, on the shaft of the penis and around the anus. The warts can also be in the urethra or anus.
What to do:
There are a large number of treatments available. Apply podophylin (this is a plant extract that inhibits cell division) or apply a special cream. Treatment with liquid nitrogen, burning, laser therapy or surgical removal are all options.
Whether it plays a role in the development of diseases of the cervix or penis depends entirely on the type of virus of the condition.


70 percent of women do not experience any symptoms. Any symptoms appear up to three weeks after infection. There may be more or a different type of discharge, pain or a burning sensation when urinating, pain in the lower abdomen, abdominal pain during sex or ejaculation. Intermittent bleeding or blood loss during intercourse may also occur. 75 percent of men do have symptoms. There may be a watery discharge from the penis and pain during urination.
What to do:
There are two different treatments, a one-off and a multi-day antibiotic treatment. One week after treatment there is no longer any risk of infection.
If women do not have chlamydia treated, the infection can spread and cause an ovarian infection. When this is the case, the woman has a sick feeling and pain in the lower and upper abdomen. If left unchecked, this inflammation can lead to infertility or an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy. In a man, the infection can go further inward, infecting the bacteria in the prostate, epididymis or testicle. Epididymitis is the most common and can be recognized by a severe pain in the scrotum, which can sometimes radiate to the groin.


Here too, women often do not notice the infection. However, there are many indications that may indicate that an infection with gonorrhea has occurred. More trouble with discharge that can look greenish-yellow to yellow and smell unpleasant. There is a burning sensation when urinating, pain or blood loss during sex and interim bleeding and more painful menstruation are also possible. Symptoms occur in 90 percent of men. A burning sensation when urinating and a green-yellow discharge. Cramps, irritation, itching or pain during bowel movements and the urge to defecate frequently are also possible symptoms.
What to do:
An injection or antibiotics is often enough. After a week there is a follow-up examination ; if the patient has been cured, the risk of infection is also over.
If the woman does not have the infection treated, a fallopian tube infection can develop. This results in a sick feeling and pain in the lower and upper abdomen. In men, the infection can move to the prostate, epididymis or testicle. Epididymitis is the most common complication and can be recognized by severe pain in the scrotum, which can radiate to the groin. It can lead to reduced fertility or even infertility.

Herpes Genitalis

An irritating and burning sensation may occur at the infected area. Blisters develop that burst and turn into small painful wounds. The lymph nodes in the groin may hurt and become swollen. Itching or pain may occur when urinating.
What to do:
Once infected with this virus, it lasts in your body forever. If it comes back very often, a course of antiviral medication is a solution.
This virus can reappear again and again due to reduced resistance, stress, fatigue, sunburn, menstruation or sexual intercourse.


Once infected with an STD, a lot of trouble, sadness and pain can be expected. The only thing you can do is ensure that the risk of contracting an STD is very small. So it is safe to have sex with someone who has not been your partner for years. Even having sex with your own regular partner is no guarantee that you will not contract an STD, as you or your partner may have had unsafe sex with someone else. But if everyone practices safe sex, the risks of contracting an STD become much smaller. If you suspect that you have contracted an STD, please see your doctor as soon as possible. The sooner it is discovered, the less harm will be done and the faster you will be rid of it.

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