Sexually transmitted disease? At my age?

There's an upswing in cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in the United States, and it includes older adults.


Image: © Dynamic Graphics/Thinkstock

For as long as humans have engaged in sex, there have been sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The term STD (which has replaced the older "venereal disease") generally refers to infections that can be transmitted by vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Among them are genital herpes, human papillomavirus, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The CDC estimates there are about 20 million new STD cases every year, but only a fraction of them get reported.

STDs are on the rise in people of all ages. There were more than two million reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in 2016. While the vast majority occurred in teenagers and young adults, there also were significant increases in cases among middle-aged and older adults (see "STDs reported among older adults").

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