Family doc's hip hop video urges safe sex for seniors
Ian Culbert, the executive director of the Canadian Public Health Association, says the problem of STI’s among seniors is not a new one, but it’s still not a topic getting talked about much.
Seniors are often surviving longer than their marriages do, and many are staying healthy and staying sexually active, often with more than one partner.
“Seniors are aging well, staying healthy longer, and being sexually active is just a normal part of human development,” Culbert told CTV News Channel from Ottawa Tuesday.
If seniors aren’t using condoms and getting STI checkups, they can unwittingly pass on infections they didn’t realize they had.
“Many sexually transmitted infections are asymptomatic for long periods of time,” he says.
Family doctors too need to spread the word, he says. While physicians typically counsel younger patients about sexual health and avoiding infections, they sometimes have trouble talking to sexually active seniors about the same things.
“In North America, we love having sex, but we’re not very comfortable talking about sex especially to someone who might be old enough to be your own parent. So those conversations aren’t happening and that’s really leading to some significant increases in STI’s,” Culbert said.
Culbert says residents of retirement or nursing homes – where STI’s can spread easily -- often can’t buy condoms, which is why he thinks they should be made freely available to residents.
“If they are not able to get out or are too shy to ask at the drug store, they should be able to know where to pick one up at the nurses’ station or wherever they might be kept,” he said.