For some inexplicable reason I was reminded of a great headline in the Telegraph ‘Over 60s to be handed free condoms in attempt to battle rising STI rate’. (25th February 2019) It’s hard to work out what is the most shocking, STI rates increasing, that The Telegraph reported that we need free condoms or that we need condoms at all. Or is it that I am just shocked that they had picked on the over60s, surely it’s a society issue as a whole not just us Boldies.
The NHS will offer free condoms to pensioners, we are told. Let’s just clear that one up, no other group is defined by its State benefits and we don’t get our pension at sixty. Nor did the campaign, run by a health trust in Derbyshire, need to be called ‘Jiggle, Wiggle’. Suggesting that all over 60s have flesh wiggling and jiggling is rude and unnecessary. Apparently those of us who grew up in the swinging sixties are now getting divorced and dating online (shock horror) and we are unaware of the dangers of unprotected sex; Admittedly, when I first had sex in the early 70s we were blissfully unaware of HIV, but I had nursed people with GPI. That’s General Paralysis of the Insane, brought about by tertiary syphilis; We knew about STIs (we called it VD, venereal disease, but we knew). We knew in our twenties and our thirties, some of us had more than one partner and we knew the risks. We know them now and we are more than capable of getting condoms; Include us in the publicity by all means, have pictures of older people having fun, make condoms free to everyone but don’t make us a special case.
Let’s also put this into context, a 25% increase in one year of gonorrhoea in older men means that that there were 216 men over 65 diagnosed with the disease in 2017; Hardly an epidemic.
And most stunning of all, this is linked to a report about older people in care homes and intimate relationships; Shall we point out that not all older people are in care homes? In fact the majority are not.
Take away message? ‘ if you’re having sex, whatever your age, look after your sexual health; Now that does make sense, we all get that.