Safer Sex Advice with Terrence Higgins Trust
Lumen recently conducted a study which revealed that people over 50 are enjoying the most adventurous sex of their lives. Of the people we asked, 62% said they have become more adventurous in the bedroom now that they have fewer inhibitions.
While we certainly want you to enjoy yourselves, we want to ensure you’re doing so responsibly. So we’ve been in touch with Terrence Higgins Trust to provide some advice about sexual health.
The most recent Public Health England statistics revealed that: In 2018 there were 35,544 new STI diagnoses in this age group. This is 8% of all STI diagnoses and is an increase of 11% from 2017. Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes and syphilis diagnoses continue to increase in individuals aged 45 and over.
We don’t want any of this to scare you off having sex, if you enjoy it then don’t stop. What we do want is to encourage you to take your sexual health seriously in your later years if you are sexually active. Sexual health campaigns have mainly targeted young people. We can now see the repercussions of this with rising STI diagnoses among the growing older population. As the number of over 50s continues to grow, updated knowledge about their sexual health needs to enter the mainstream. This information is long overdue and more focus needs to be given to such an important area of everyday life.
Terrence Higgins Trust has great online resources if you want to learn more about improving your sexual health. Whether that’s using the tried and tested condom or other methods of contraception, it’s all in their library. The resources available from the charity are relevant for everyone, regardless of gender or sexuality, so you’ll find the information you need.
You’ll also be able to find out what symptoms to be on the lookout for if you are sexually active, Terrence Higgins Trust has an extensive library of resources there too. In addition to looking up symptoms, if you believe you have taken a risk you can check quickly whether it’s worth considering PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, a treatment that can prevent HIV transmission after sexual activity) by answering a few questions. It might even be worth considering PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, a similar treatment that is taken regularly and can prevent HIV).
If you are in any doubt about the status of your sexual health, if you’re worried that you have taken a risk or if you’re sexually active and want to be responsible then the best thing to do is get tested. Terrence Higgins Trust has a number of centres with services that range from sexual health advice to full screenings, and many centres will also offer free condoms.
It’s important to get regularly tested if you are sexually active, so if there is a Terrence Higgins Trust centre that provides this service in your area be sure to take advantage. Even if you haven’t shown symptoms of any STIs, be sure to keep on top of your sexual health – while it is a common misconception that things like HIV never show symptoms, there is still a possibility that symptoms aren’t present or noticeable. So please do be sure to go for regular check-ups every two to three months.
If you ever need quick advice on sexual health, you can always speak to someone from Terrence Higgins Trust over the phone, via e-mail or write to them. They’re there to provide emotional support for people worried about their sexual health or living with long term conditions, or to help you access services local to you.