Sex a key part of life for people over 65, study says

Baby boomers re-entering dating game more vulnerable to STIs

PM, ABC radio, 18/01/2018

Family Planning New South Wales surveyed 2,339 heterosexual men who were using an online dating service in 2014.

The survey found men aged 50 or older were less likely to use condoms and more likely than younger men to think that condoms reduced sexual interest.

The survey also found 49 per cent of men over 60 did not know that Australia’s most prevalent sexually transmitted infection (STI), chlamydia, often does not cause any symptoms.

Sexually active older Australian’s knowledge of STIs & safer sexual practices

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 2017  doi:10.1111/1753-6405.12655

Lyons, A., Heywood, W., Fileborn, B., Minichiello, V., Barrett, C., Brown, G., Hinchliff, S., Malta, S. and Crameri, P.


Objective: Rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are rising among older Australians. We conducted a large survey of older people’s knowledge of STIs and safer sexual practices.

Methods: A total of 2,137 Australians aged 60 years and older completed the survey, which included 15 questions assessing knowledge of STIs and safer sexual practices. We examined both levels of knowledge and factors associated with an overall knowledge score.

Results: In total, 1,652 respondents reported having sex in the past five years and answered all knowledge questions. This group had good general knowledge but poorer knowledge in areas such as the protection offered by condoms and potential transmission modes for specific STIs. Women had better knowledge than men. Men in their 60s, men with higher education levels, and men who thought they were at risk of STIs reported better knowledge than other men. Knowledge was also better among men and women who had been tested for STIs or reported ‘other’ sources of knowledge on STIs.

Conclusions: Many older Australians lack knowledge of STIs and safer sexual practices.

Implications for public health: To reverse current trends toward increasing STI diagnoses in this population, policies and education campaigns aimed at improving knowledge levels may need to be considered.

  • Access full text (open access) here 

State of Play: findings from the England Gay Men’s Sex Survey

Sigma Research, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, May 2016

The 2014 Gay Men’s Sex Survey was released this week. 15,360 men who have sex with men, living in England and aged 16 to 90 years, completed the online survey.

Findings included:

  • The proportion of men not happy with their sex lives was 41%.


  • The over 65s were most likely to be happy with their sex life.


  • Overall, 9% were living with diagnosed HIV infection and the annual incidence of new HIV diagnoses was 1.1%.


  • Among men with diagnosed HIV, 81% were on anti-HIV treatment,
    and 92% of those indicated their last viral load test result was undetectable.
  • The most common risk reduction tactics among men with diagnosed HIV
    were using lubricant for anal sex (73%), monitoring viral load (72%) and regular STI screenings (69%).
  • Among men without diagnosed HIV they were using lubricant for anal sex (77%), avoiding sex with men they thought had HIV (63%) and declining some sex partners (56%).
  • 61% of men indicated they had anal sex without a condom in the last 12 months; 14% had anal sex without condoms with both steady and non-steady partners in the last 12 months.
  • 7% had ever taken PEP, while 37% had never heard of PEP.
  • 42% of men with diagnosed HIV felt that alcohol or drugs had contributed to their acquiring HIV.
  • 20% had wanted a condom but not had access to one in the last 12 months and 14% had had condomless anal sex just because they did not have a condom.
  • Collective annual STI screening reached 52% of men (9% with symptoms, 43% without symptoms); and collective annual HIV testing reached 55%.
  • In counselling for men diagnosed with HIV, 29% were dissatisfied with the service they received.


Download report (PDF) here:

New clinical guidelines on prostate cancer testing

December 2014

Long-awaited consensus guidelines on prostate cancer have been released.

The draft guidelines address prostate cancer testing, which extends from making a decision about whether to be tested, through to following a positive test result. Notably, they recommend against routine PSA screening and advise GPs to cease digital rectal examinations.

  • Draft Clinical Practice Guidelines PSA Testing and Early Management of Test-Detected Prostate Cancer (2014): the draft guidelines can be found here
  • Further related guidelines can be found here