WWMT Newschannel 3 (Mich.) (05.22.2013)
Aids Weekly Plus
Kalamazoo County, Mich., health officials are concerned by increases in 2012 of both chlamydia cases and STDs among senior citizens. County Health Officer Linda Vail warned, “Chlamydia can have a lot of complications for girls. Pelvic inflammatory disease can lead to infertility.” Vail noted the county population’s poverty status and other factors were driving up poor health indicators.
Data revealed that Kalamazoo County reported STD numbers above the statewide average, but just below larger cities such as Flint and Detroit. In recent years, the county also has seen increases in gonorrhea and syphilis cases. Health officials are investigating STDs, creating STD clinics within the health department, and adding more staff. Health department staff members have seen the highest STD rates in persons ages 15–24.
However, the county is recording increased numbers of senior citizens with sexual infections. Judy Sivak, director of the Area Agency on Aging, noted that the elderly are re-entering the dating scene after the death of a spouse, living in senior communities, and using drugs such as Viagra. Seniors may not realize that they must practice safe sex regardless of age; they also are not aware of STDs and HIV. She emphasized that the message of protecting oneself before getting close with another needs to reach all ages. She noted that older people could sometimes be embarrassed to mention such topics, so it was critical for their doctors to start the safe sex discussion with them. Kalamazoo County residents can find STD testing resources by visiting http://www.kalcounty.com/hsd/stdclinic.htm.