Maybe it’s longer lives; maybe it’s Viagra. Either way, STDs are soaring among seniors—and climbing faster among older adults than within the population as a whole. Reportings of syphilis and chlamydia among those 55 and older jumped 43% between 2005 and 2009, the Orlando Sentinel finds in a study of CDC data. Syphilis climbed faster than the national average among those 55 to 64: Older adults saw a 70% rise in reported cases, 10 percentage points higher than the average for all age groups.
Meanwhile, chlamydia rose some 54% among seniors, twice the all-ages average. Why the spike? It may be because senior generations didn’t have the safe-sex training younger generations received, resulting in less condom use. It could also be that more seniors are living in retirement communities—potential social hotspots. The data has prompted Medicare to mull covering seniors’ STD screenings, as well as perhaps providing behavioral counseling for sexually-active seniors. (Read more seniors stories.)