This article is going to be about sex. I promise. But first, some reflections.
Well, Pepsipocalypse continues. The Management pulled the ill-conceived PepsiCo nutrition blog, which is a Good Thing. This doesn’t change my misgivings about what has happened. As many other bloggers have already stated, the Pepsi fiasco is a single, highly-public event, but there are non-public problems that are important to some bloggers, including me.
Removing the “advertorial” blog was the right thing for SEED to do. It removes a clear ethical conflict (remember, this isn’t about PepsiCo, it’s about ScienceBlogs). But significant damage has been done. That being said, I write because I like to write, and whether I stay at Sb or move on to another venue, I’m going to keep doing this. If I move, you’ll be nearly the first to know.
Anyway, it turns out that having sex predisposes you to sexually transmitted infections (STIs). What, you don’t believe me? It’s science!
A study published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine looked at (male) users of erectile dysfunction drugs and rates STIs both before and after having them prescribed.
It should come as no surprise that men who have sex more are more at risk for STIs. The interesting twist here is that we generally think of STIs as being diseases of young people, and erectile dysfunction as being a disease of older people.
A recent article for the BMJ journal Sexually Transmitted Infections found that older people who “swing” have a high rate of STIs. This is also not surprising, but what was surprising was that so many older people swing. (The study was done in the Netherlands, and maybe they do things differently there, but I’m probably just naive.)
Studies have suggested that older folks have a lot more sex than their kids would like to imagine, and our ability to keep people relatively healthy as they age makes this plausible and possible.
This gives us a lot to chew on. I write prescriptions for ED drugs all the time, but do I counsel all of these patients properly? The Annals article pointed out that:
Although middle-aged and older adults generally take fewer risks with their health, their decreased need for contraception may imply less-than-optimal safe sexual practices compared with younger populations.
One interesting tidbit from this study was that HIV was one of the most common STIs. I certainly have counseled older folks who are “back on the market” about safe sex, but this article certainly drives home the need to be even more vigilant.
Dukers-Muijrers, N., Niekamp, A., Brouwers, E., & Hoebe, C. (2010). Older and swinging; need to identify hidden and emerging risk groups at STI clinics Sexually Transmitted Infections DOI: 10.1136/sti.2009.041954
Anupam B. Jena, MD, PhD; Dana P. Goldman, PhD; Amee Kamdar, PhD; Darius N. Lakdawalla, PhD; and Yang Lu, PhD (2010). Sexually Transmitted Diseases Among Users of Erectile Dysfunction Drugs: Analysis of Claims Data
Annals of Internal Medicine, 153 (1), 1-7