James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Sexually transmitted infections soar among pensioners
10 February 2020, 06:55
More pensioners are being diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections as cases of syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, genital herpes and genital warts increase.
Figures show that STIs in people over the age of 65 has increased by more than 40 per cent in the last four years.
The BBC obtained data which showed an increase in cases of STIs from between 2014 and 2018 - the latest period for which figures are available.
In 2014, a total of 1,312 people in that age group in England were diagnosed with an infection, but this jumped to 1,845 in 2018 - an increase of 41%.
Figures relating to the over-45s age group also show a similar increase in STI diagnoses.
One person from Bristol, who wanted to be known only as Ashley, waited for about two years before being diagnosed with HIV.
"I didn't mind being HIV positive but it's just that delay in finding it - I'm a little bit bitter about that," the 59-year-old said.
"Over 50s, people who have come out of divorce or marriage, think they're safe - but they're not safe.
"They're mucking about and finding new partners. They think that because nobody can get pregnant anymore there's no danger - because those illnesses are for young people.
"But they're not, they're for everybody."
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Social Care urged people of all ages to practice safe sex.
"More people than ever are now able to access sexual health services which is vital for improving the detection and treatment of STIs," she said.
"We strongly urge people of all ages to practice safe sex by using condoms and to take advantage of their free, local sexual health services if they consider themselves to be at risk.
"Our new sexual and reproductive health strategy will be published this year."