As Americans live longer, they are sexually active for a longer period of time. As part of an initiative to cover more preventative care, Medicare might pay for STD tests for diseases such as syphilis and hepatitis B. Currently Medicare pays for HIV tests.
According to Reuters, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are likely to announce a draft decision by August 24.
Delayed treatment and the possibility of spreading STDs to can mean preventative care costs less over the long haul.
Currently there are almost 39 million senior Americans over 65 covered under Medicare. There are also 7.6 million disabled covered by the insurance program.
Sexually transmitted infection tests are geared at high risk populations. Many are for women, including pregnant women who are Medicare disabled beneficiaries.
Currently Medicare covered pelvic exams, pap smears and screening tests for colorectal cancer and diabetes.
Testing being considered by Medicare includes syphilis infection for everyone at risk as well as hepatitis B virus infection in pregnant females. Pregnant women or those who are sexually active would be tested for gonorrhea infection if they are at risk as well as chlamydial infection.
They are also considering covering behavioral counseling to prevent STDs for adolescents who are sexually active and adults at great risk.
Adults at risk include sexy seniors having unprotected relations. Reuters revealed a report in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed the rate of STDs in older men taking drugs such as Viagra was twice as high as peers who did not take medication for erectile dysfunction.
Further, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than six new cases of sexual transmitted infections per 10,000 mean over 40.
Leader of the study, Dr. Anupam B. Jena of Massachusetts General Hospital, said, “Younger adults have far more STDs than older adults, but the rates are growing at far higher rates in older adults.”
Additionally, men over 50 are six times less likely to use a condom than those in their 20s. Jena said, “We are typically unaccustomed to practice safe sex over the age of 50, because the risk of pregnancy is eliminated.”
CBS News reports a “New England Journey of Medicine” survey of behaviors and attitudes of Americans aged 57 to 85 revealed they consider sexuality an important part of life.
People into their 70s and 80s are still having oral sex and vaginal intercourse and are having relations almost as often as when they were younger. Much like program in high schools encouraging the use of condoms, there might be similar initiatives at senior centers across the nation.