A new study suggests normal physiological changes associated with middle age and changes in sexual behavior can place some women at higher risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Researcher Christopher Coleman, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N., of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing said women tend to let their guard down with new sexual partners and avoid using protection since they are unafraid of getting pregnant. His study looked at newly divorced middle-aged women.
Additionally, as aging occurs, physiological changes due to menopause such as the thinning of vaginal walls make women more susceptible to contracting a virus.
Medications that would be used to treat an STD or HIV become hard for a woman to tolerate because an aging body metabolizes medications differently.
“There is a knowlege gap with women knowing what the physiological changes associated with menopause are,” said Dr. Coleman.
“There is very little research on this subject and society and the government don’t talk about it, but these high risk sexual behaviors need to be addressed because the rate of HIV-positive middle aged women is increasing.”