STD rates skyrocket among Americans 55 and older: CDC

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Sexually transmitted disease rates have risen sharply in a certain age group – and which group it is may surprise you.

The CDC’s latest statistics on STDs in the U.S. show that chlamydia, Hepatitis C, and syphilis were among the diseases that have been infecting Americans aged 55 and older at an alarming rate. The statistics, which are as recent as 2022, show how STD rates have skyrocketed since 2000.

In 2022, there were 5,160 reported cases of primary and secondary syphilis in adults aged 55 and older – a sharp increase from 3,092 in 2020. In 2012, there were only 712 cases.

Chlamydia cases among Americans aged 55 and older in 2022 were reported to be 19,766 in total – thousands more than the 13,774 cases in 2020.

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There were 5,160 reported cases of primary and secondary syphilis in adults aged 55 and older in 2022, making it one of the STDs that impact older Americans. (iStock)

Hepatitis C outbreaks among people aged 55 and older have also skyrocketed since 2012. There were only 125 cases in 2012, while 1,041 cases were reported in 2022 – only a slight decrease from 1,092 in 2021.

Gonorrhea cases among the age group were as high as 18,804 in 2022 – in 2012, there were only 3,874 cases.

According to charts published on the CDC’s website, the state with the highest 2021 HIV diagnoses among adults 55 and older is Florida, with 585 cases. California followed with 453 cases, and then Texas ranked third with 358.

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Doctor putting hand on patient's leg

Some experts believe STD cases among older Americans may be higher because of the sex education, or lack thereof, they received as adolescents. (iStock)

New York, Georgia, New Jersey and Illinois were also ranked among the highest HIV diagnoses in 2021 for the same age group. Alaska, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota and Vermont had a combined total of 12 cases among the 55+ crowd, and Wyoming had zero.

In an interview with NBC News, Texas A&M professor Matthew Lee Smith claimed that STD cases in elderly people may be influenced by how they were taught about sex education in school.

Elderly man speaking with doctor

Gonorrhea cases among the 55+ age group were as high as 18,804 in 2022, according to the CDC. (iStock)

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“Back in the ’30s, the ’40s, the ’50s, traditional school wasn’t really doing sexual education very formally,” he explained.

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