We’ve addressed the looming doctor shortage that could erupt into a full-fledged health-care crisis by the time all 78 million baby boomers reach 65. Now there’s yet another reason to start recruiting doctors fast: Those boomers are also contracting STDs at astounding rates. A new study shows that in the past 10 years infection rates for the over-40 set have skyrocketed, with cases of chlamydia, genital herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, and genital warts among people over 45 increasing 127 percent between 1996 and 2003.
A host of factors, including high divorce rates, lack of safe-sex education, more sex for seniors, and outdated attitudes developed during the “free love” era are all to blame, but the results are no good news for a government that’s already set to break the bank on its disproportionately aging population. STDs, particularly HIV, cost money to treat, and our current health-care system is caught in enough of a spending spiral as it is.
Though perhaps one good thing will come of this: Maybe now we can finally quit preaching abstinence.