STDs and the Sexually Active SeniorPosted by Medicare Made Clear
Getting older doesn’t mean your chance of getting a sexually transmitted disease is less than that of a younger person. Any person who is sexually active, regardless of age, may be at risk of diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes, hepatitis B, and genital warts. Sexual activity may also put you at risk for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. According to NIH National Institute on Aging, the number of older people with HIV/AIDS is growing.1
The rate of STDs in all age groups has increased dramatically in recent years. Here are a few of the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Syphilis: 56,471 reported new cases in 20132
- Chlamydia: 1,401,906 reported new infections in 20133
- Gonorrhea: 333,004 reported new cases in 20132
- HIV: 48,893 estimated new infections in 20122
Fortunately, many STDs are easily treated with antibiotics. But first the infection must be detected. Screening for STDs is essential, since some have few visible symptoms.
Screening for STDs is a Medicare preventive service and is covered by Medicare Part B. You can get tested for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and Hepatitis B once every 12 months. Medicare also covers HIV screenings once every 12 months for anyone who asks for the test, or up to three times during pregnancy. In addition, you may receive up to two behavioral counseling sessions each year if you have an increased risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease.
STD screenings or behavioral counseling are provided at no additional cost to you if your doctor or primary care practitioner accepts Medicare assignment. You must receive the counseling from a primary care practitioner in a primary care setting, such as a doctor’s office, or it may not be covered.
Talk to your doctor about STD screenings during your next annual Medicare Wellness visit. It may be uncomfortable discussing your sex life with your doctor, but practicing safe sex and preventing STDs are important at any age.
For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.
Medicare.gov: Visit the official U.S. government site for Medicare.
Medicare Made Clear: Keep current with the Medicare information that matters to you
Sexually Transmitted Disease Rates Rise Among Elderly. Why?, Ryan Jaslow, CBSNews.com
1 Sexuality in Later Life, NIH National Institute on Aging, January 22, 2015
2 2013 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Surveillance, Syphilis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, December 17, 2014
3 2013 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Surveillance, Chlamydia, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, December 16, 2014