Sexuality and Physical Changes With Aging (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases—also known as STDs or venereal diseases—are infections passed from person to person through sexual intercourse, genital contact, or contact with semen, vaginal fluids, or blood.
Older people may think of STDs as a problem that affects only young people. But because of physical changes related to age, older adults who are exposed to STDs may be more likely than young people to get STDs.
As you age, your immune system is not as strong, so it's harder to fight off disease. And women who are past menopause have thinner vaginal walls and less vaginal moisture than they did before menopause. Using a lubricant, such as KY Jelly, may keep you from getting a sore or a tiny cut on your penis or inside your vagina. This can reduce your risk of getting STDs or HIV.
Practice safe sex. For older adults, this means always using condoms and lubricants until you are in a monogamous relationship and know your partner's sexual history and HIV status.
STDs can affect anyone, no matter what his or her age. Talk openly with your partner about STDs and take whatever precautions are necessary to protect yourself before you engage in any form of sexual contact. If you think you may have an STD, see your health professional.
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