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STDs and safe sex in later life

Written by Diane Archer

Older people need to worry about safe sex as much as anyone else. No matter how old you are, if you or or your partner has multiple sexual partners, you are at risk of getting sexually-transmitted diseases or STDs if you don’t take precautions. The National Institute on Aging offers advice on safe sex in later life; and, Medicare covers screenings for STDs.

Sexually active older adults may be at risk for syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydial infection, genital herpes, hepatitis B, genital warts, and trichomoniasis. And, an increasing number of older adults are being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS because they are having unprotected sex or they or their partners have other sexual partners.  To protect yourself, the National Institute on Aging recommends that men always use a condom during sex. It suggests lubricated condoms or water-based lubricating jelly for women with vaginal dryness.

Talk to your doctor about how to protect yourself against STDs. And, get a regular checkup and an STD screening. If you have traditional Medicare and see a doctor who takes assignment–accepts Medicare’s approved amount as payment in full–or if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and see an in-network doctor, Medicare will cover the full cost of your STD screening and counseling services for multiple infections if you meet the coverage criteria, including if you:

  • Have more than one sexual partner
  • Do not always use condoms
  • Get paid for sex
  • Have had an STD in the past year

Medicare will also cover lab tests from Medicare-approved labs.  Coverage rules differ based on your situation and the type of test.  Click here to learn more from the Medicare Rights Center.

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