I couldn't help but chuckle just a bit when I read the story this morning titled, "Sex and the single septuagenarian" on salon.com by Liz Langley. It is true, one never thinks of "older" people having a particular active, yes, dare I say it, sex life. Just the thought of my parents having been involved in midnight olympics sends shivers down my spine. But yet, this is the 21st century, people live longer than ever before, and thanks to modern drugs, could have, and indeed, do have pretty active sex lives. And why not, seniors are more active then ever, competing in running events, taking up new sports in retirement and so forth. We just never talk about a senior's sexuality publicly, hence most of us don't think of seniors as particular sexual or romantic beings. Given all that, a very serious health issue arises for people over 45. And that is that of HIV/AIDS. These numbers are pretty significant, notice that this age group makes up 37% of the population, or roughly 107 million people.
And since Alternative Medicine is all about prevention of disease in the first place, I believe that subject matter deserves its proper place as a stand alone post in the category of Prevention.
According to the 2005 American Community Survey, the age group between 45 and 64 years makes up 25% of the population, and the 65 plus segment made up 12% of the population, making the 45 plus age group the largest segment of population. As cited in a CNBC report, 50 year old singles are the fastest growing member category on match.com. According to a Florida health department official, 16% of newly reported HIV cases were among the 50 and older. Other STD's are not increasing as much in the elderly, but they are usually under reported. The story mentions a gentleman who at the age of 100 (yes, that is correct) was newly diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Then there is Jane Fowler, who at age 55, in 1991 contracted HIV/AIDS. She helped establish two educational foundations on the issues of HIV/AIDS in people over 50. They are the National Association on HIV Over Fifty and HIV Wisdom for Older Women.
Next time your single parent puts on his coat, and is about to forget the cane, as they walk out the door, you better remind them about the importance of having protected sex, an issue they never had to worry about. Seems a bit odd that you would have to have "The Talk" with your parent about practicing safe sex. Jane Fowler has a saying when she gives seminars tying save sex with Bob Dole's Viagara commercial. She adds: "Now, if you can get it up, cover it up." I bet you never thought you would have to say that to your sixty-something dad, didn't you?