Many Singaporeans are unaware of the potential repercussions of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). This comes as a result of the lack of conversation and education that Singaporeans have about STDs. Years ago, Singaporean schools often promote abstinence and teach teenagers about contraception very minimally. As such, many in the older generation of Singaporeans may be unaware of safe sex practices and thus end up contracting STDs. STD clinics in Singapore are seeing a number of patients who are aged 50 and above, who may have found themselves sexually active after meeting new partners. In this article, we will explore the STD trends that affect the older population in Singapore and discuss how older Singaporeans can learn about the dangers of STDs.
Meeting people online
With the advent of the internet, older Singaporeans are spending more time meeting people online and offline. They meet on social media sites like Facebook, but also on dating apps like Tinder. It is common for these meetings to turn into romantic and sexual encounters for these older people. There are also some older men who may meet and have sex with younger men or women, thereby transmitting STDs to them unknowingly. As such, it is important for these older Singaporeans to be aware of the methods needed to prevent risky exposure to STDs for their sex partners and themselves.
Older men may be at higher risk of STDs when engaging with sex workers
Though prostitution is still illegal in Singapore, there are many single older men with a disposable income who hire sex workers when they are travelling abroad. It is especially common for men to solicit such services when travelling to cities such as Bangkok, where there are many KTV lounges and brothels. Without knowledge of STD protection, these men may engage in risky behaviours with sex workers, such as having unprotected sex.
Rising trends in some diseases
The Department of STI Control has stated in 2018 that the number of people aged 50 and above have been stable across the last few years. While the younger generations of Singaporeans are still much more likely to contract an STD, there are some diseases that are more common among the older population who visit STD and HIV testing clinics. A study in 2013 noted that there was a rising trend in HIV and genital herpes among the older population. However, clinics in Singapore do state that it is still common for older men and women to enter with common bacterial infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea.
Educating the older generation about STDs
The best way to help the elderly learn about the dangers of STDs is to speak to them about it. They may be afraid to speak about such a taboo issue, but not knowing about the dangers of unprotected sexual activities could severely impair their health. Family members can do their part by bringing up this topic as appropriate and the government may also do its part in reaching out to these older men and women.