In March, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid office announced that it was looking into adding STD exams to the national health-insurance program, which already pays for HIV screenings. The factors driving the rise of STDs in the older set include Americans living longer, healthier lives and a new class of medications, which include Viagra, making more sex possible.Medicare also is weighing the benefits of paying for behavioral counseling for sexually active seniors. Many older adults didn't get the safe-sex messages that younger generations received, say experts, so their condom use is lower.In the Sunbelt where retirees have formed large communities, the rise was even more dramatic.For instance, in Arizona's Maricopa and Pima counties — home to large retirement communities just outside Phoenix — the percent of reported cases of syphilis and chlamydia increased twice as fast as the national average from 2005 to 2009.Five years ago, the 64-year-old widow, mother and grandmother from Baltimore, tested positive for HIV. More prone to STDs Just because seniors are older and wiser doesn't mean they're not susceptible to the same diseases as everyone else, Salagubang said. As people age, their immune systems tend to weaken, and other health problems make them more prone to infection.
Among all age groups nationwide, reported cases of syphilis increased 60 percent between 20, while in the 55 to 64 age group it increased 70 percent.
"Doctors aren't asking seniors if they are sexually active.
And if doctors don't ask, seniors don't volunteer the information." Condom use Micklavzina also broaches the subject of condom use with patients.
"The discussion certainly happens here," Williams said.
She applies a portion of the funds her agency receives from the state for health education promoting safer senior sex and getting tested.