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Sexually transmitted infection in the elderly
  1. R D Cranston,
  2. R N Thin
  1. Department of Genitourinary Medicine, St Thomas’s Hospital, Guys and St Thomas’s Hospital Trust, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7EH

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“Age brings changes at 70 just as at 17. But you never outgrow your need for intimate love and affection.”1

There is little medical literature concerning sexually transmitted infection in the elderly. The paucity of published information may reflect the low clinical workload this population generates within genitourinary medicine (GUM) services, but also suggests a more general lack of interest in the sexual health of elderly patients.

This degree of scientific neglect reflects the attitudes of medical practitioners and those of the patients themselves. The older generation may have grown up with the belief that sex was something improper or unmentionable. They are often uncomfortable sharing this aspect of their lives which, as a topic, may have been rarely discussed in the past with either peers or healthcare professionals. In direct contrast, the contemporary media project sex and sexuality in a way that encourages discussion and debate. Articles addressing modern sexuality emphasise appearance, fitness, and most predominantly youth. These articles are mostly written by, for, and about the young …

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