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Increased risk of sexual infections over 45 years

 


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image: The SHIFT project revealed a negative attitude and limited knowledge about sexual health needs over the age of 45.
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Credit: University of Chichester

New reports have found that people over the age of 45 are at greater risk of developing sexually transmitted diseases than ever before, as society does not want to talk about middle-aged and older sexual activity.

A study conducted by the University of Chichester with organizations in the United Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands found that negative attitudes and limited knowledge of the sexual health needs of the age group did not recognize the dangers of unprotected sexual intercourse. It became clear that it was related to.

In addition, people over the age of 45 who live in socially and economically disadvantaged areas are at risk of developing sexually transmitted diseases because they have little awareness of the medical services available and have limited access to doctors and nurses. It turned out to be particularly expensive.

This report is part of the SHIFT project. This is a three-year initiative aimed at developing a training model that can be used by health care professionals to improve the sexual health and well-being of middle-aged and older people across the UK and Europe.

Dr. Ian Tindle, a senior lecturer at Chichester College, who leads the evaluation of the project, said the number of sexually active older people has increased due to major changes in sexual behavior over the last few decades. ..

“The most risky people over the age of 45 are generally those who enter a new postmenopausal relationship after a monogamous period, where pregnancy is no longer considered, but they have little to think about STI.” He added. “Given the improvement in life expectancy, sexual health care improves intervention in older people and vulnerable groups to provide more utilized, knowledgeable, compassionate and effective services. is needed.”

The three-year SHIFT study began in 2019. With a 2.5 million grant from the EU Interreg2Seas program, the intent is to address the growth rate of STI over the age of 45 and improve older people’s involvement in sexual health services, including those facing them. .. Socio-economic disadvantage.

The latest SHIFT report includes about 800 participants across the south coast of England and the northern regions of Belgium and the Netherlands, of which nearly 200 face socio-economic disadvantages. The initial findings highlight four key areas that researchers believe the intervention can address the current healthcare delivery gap: awareness, access, knowledge, and stigma.

  • Awareness: The results showed that a significant number of participants were unaware of the risk of STI, while 46% were unaware of the location of the nearest medical center. However, researchers have found that social media is the most effective tool for promoting involvement in sexual health services prior to leaflets and general practitioner appointments.
  • Knowledge: Participants emphasized that healthcare professionals, including doctors and nurses, lacked sufficient knowledge of sexual health, resulting in only half of the recent STI tests. Therefore, researchers write that there is an “urgent need” to create coordinated training programs to better understand a wider range of healthcare professionals.
  • Stigma: According to the report, shame was identified as the biggest barrier to access to sexual health care services. Many participants felt that sexual health became a “dirty” term and discouraged them from attending regular health examinations.
  • Access: Limited information about the location of the sexual health center and limited business hours have been consistent issues for many participants. Others living in more rural areas also said that increased costs of public transport were a barrier to booking.

Dr. Ruth Laurie, a researcher at SHIFT, said:

“The findings also show that groups with one or more socio-economic disadvantages, such as homeless people, sex workers, non-native speakers, and immigrants, are even more at risk of being unaware of their sexual health and inaccessible. It shows that the proper service. “

SHIFT partners will be ready for effective intervention by 2021 and will then be rolled out to healthcare professionals with a study published in 2022. It will reach as many as 150,000 people across the UK, France and the South Coast. Belgium, the Netherlands.

The survey was distributed prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, but focus groups and interviews are conducted via video calls to navigate jurisdiction restrictions across participating countries.

For more information on the SHIFT project, go to the following URL: http: // www.interreg2seas.I/To /shift..

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