CommunityPam's House Blend

Will the bible beaters bleat about condoms for seniors?

In New York City the Department of Aging is giving away condoms at senior centers and providing information on how to reduce the risk of contracting STDs/HIV.  The program has proven to be popular with the senior set. (365gay):

While volunteers passed out cups of Jell-O to the white-haired lunch crowd at a senior center, another group was distributing something that didn’t quite fit amid the card games and daily gossip: condoms.

…AIDS education of the elderly has become an important issue as antiretroviral drugs that can keep patients living into their golden years changes the face of AIDS. Experts warn that ignorance about HIV among seniors can lead to new infections.

And those infections are happening. A physician from Howard University Hospital in Washington recently diagnosed unsuspected HIV in an 82-year-old.

Free HIV testing was also offered at the senior center, as the reality that people are having sex — unprotected sex — well into their golden years is a serious issue that needs to be openly discussed with this demographic. New York has $1 million slated for HIV education for seniors.

“Often older people do not concern themselves with HIV and AIDS because they assume that they are not at risk, and that can be a tragic mistake,” said Edwin Mendez-Santiago, New York City’s commissioner of aging.

Frank Garcia, 72, happily pocketed his supply of official New York City condoms, which are packaged with a subway logo.

“I think it’s a great thing,” he said. “We used to go to the drugstore and wait for an hour or two before we got up the nerve to ask for them. Your parents didn’t talk about it. Everything was street-taught.”

A study last year by the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America projected that within the next decade, the majority of HIV-infected New Yorkers will be over 50.

Now imagine this — many of these seniors are single/widowed, so they are clearly engaging in sex outside of marriage. Are the fundies going to tell 80-year-old people that they are damned to hell for being able to get it on at that age?

On a serious note, a friend of mine had a family member with dementia in a senior facility, and HIV and other STD transmission was a serious concern as there have been cases of people roaming the rooms having sex with one another and one (or both) either don’t remember it, or have difficulty articulating what they have done.

* Sex and the single septuagenarian (Salon)

Previous post

BREAKING: A Call For Action On Gonzales

Next post

Turning Tides

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding