Introduction Since 2011 STI incidence has increased in the over-50 population in the UK.
Higher divorce rates, lack of awareness, poor service provision and low pregnancy risk have all been suggested as contributing to these changes.
We examined sexual practices and attitudes of >50s in our city centre clinic, and assessed service accessibility.
Methods Anonymous questionnaires distributed opportunistically to 50 attendees (23 male 27 female), examining sexual practices, STI awareness and attitudes towards service provision.
Results Almost half had divorced previously. 50% men never used condoms, 67% women; reasons given included ‘married’, ‘no pregnancy risk’, ‘too old’, ‘don’t like it’. 60% used at least one regular medication and 10% were using >6 drugs. 37% of women and 20% of men were ‘too embarrassed’ to discuss sex with GP. 44% women, 26% men were first-time attenders. All the women in our sample were white heterosexual. There was more ethnic diversity in men, and 30% MSM. There was good awareness of STIs and safer sex, and 70% felt that current services met their needs.
Discussion Reassuringly, many were attending for the first time suggesting ease of access. However, a lack of diversity in female attendees may indicate unmet needs in some groups. Despite being aware of good sexual health, there was low condom use and a lingering embarrassment to discuss problems with family doctor. This survey suggests unmet needs still exist, even in those who already access services. A similar project in primary care is planned to further assess this.
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