Sexually transmitted infections soar in the over 50s

The All Wales Sexual Health Network Annual Conference will take place at Cardiff City Stadium tomorrow Wednesday. Entitled ‘The Fairer Sex: Addressing Sexual Health Inequalities in Wales.

The conference will be focused on reducing sexual health inequalities, and topics include: Responding to the sexual health needs of sex workers in Wales.

Women In Hostels Into Sexual Health:The WHISH Project.

Age Cymru’s Joanna Bass, and Lisa Power from the Terence Higgins Trust will be running an important plenary session on sexual health in the over 50s as STIs in this age group are soaring.

Joanne Bass of Age Cymru said, “Over 50s grew up in a time when the safe sex priority was to prevent pregnancy and many of these people are increasingly likely to be single or starting new relationships due to separation, divorce or bereavement.

“It is important that older people are supported and aware of the risks involved in unprotected sex as they believe they are not at risk from sexually transmitted infections.”

She concluded, “The over 50s are a growing population whose sexual health and wellbeing needs are often ignored because of a general ageist view that people over 50 no longer have sex.”

The conference will also be addressed by Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Health and Social Services.

She said, “The All Wales Sexual Health Network annual conference is more than an information sharing event – it provides a forum for agreement and discussion on key sexual health challenges.

“I am delighted at the continuing development of sexual health services in Wales and pleased at the ongoing and sustained reduction in STIs – gonorrhoea and syphilis rates are the lowest they have been since 2005. We have tested over 100,000 individuals for chlamydia and the prevalence continues to fall.

“Today the focus is on reducing sexual health inequalities and I am delighted to see the needs of so many diverse groups being discussed.”

Lesley Griffiths will also be presenting Barnardo’s Cymru Taith Service with the Public Health Wales Good Practice Award which is given in recognition of their work with children and young people aged 8 -18 years who have engaged in sexually harmful behaviour .

The Taith Service also provides assessments for 18-21 year olds where there are concerns in relation to risks of sexually harmful behaviour. Established in 2000, the Taith Service is based in Bridgend. The service has received referrals on over 900 young people in this time and has quarterly steering group meetings to ensure quality of service delivery, review contracts and consider service developments.