Although definitive figures are not available, there is no question that sexual activity among older Americans has risen dramatically over the past decade, and with it has come a rise in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The combination of Viagra and Internet dating, which both came into vogue around 1998, gave seniors two necessary ingredients for continuing their sex lives: ability and opportunity.
A study in the British journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, published in 2008, showed STD rates had doubled among people 45 and older in less than a decade. Researchers believe the figure to be low because it's based on the small proportion of people who actually seek treatment.
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Inside E Street features a group of seniors at the Jewish Community Center in North Miami Beach who made a claymation video, Sex and the Seniors, about the dangers of STDs. Host Lark McCarthy talks to Debra Herbenick, associate director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and a member of the faculty at the Kinsey Institute, and Anupam Jena, M.D., of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, about the emotional and psychological aspects of sex and sexual health later in life and the reasons for the increase in STDs among older Americans.
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