TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — In the 10 years before the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida’s population grew, with a big chunk of it from seniors retiring to the Sunshine State for ocean waves, beautiful beaches, and fun times.
According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compiled and analyzed by HelpAdvisor.com, some of that fun was not without its consequences. Florida ranked no. 7 for highest levels of chlamydia in residents 55 or older in the United States.
HelpAdvisor examined data from 2010 to 2019 to understand the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections across the U.S. They checked the data for gonorrhea, chlamydia and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
According to the data analysis, from 2010 to 2019, Florida’s rate of chlamydia rose 313%. In the same time period, Florida’s rate of gonorrhea rose 456% and its HIV rate rose 94%. All three statistics are for patients 55 or older.
On the topic of sexually transmitted diseases, the CDC said testing is needed to more accurately follow trends and treat infection levels.
“Trends in rates of reported cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea are influenced by changes in incidence of infection, as well as changes in diagnostic, screening, and reporting practices,” the CDC reported. “As both chlamydial and gonococcal infections can be asymptomatic, the number of infections identified and reported can increase as more people are screened—even when incidence is flat or decreasing.”
The HelpAdvisor analysis looked at behavior and circumstances among the country’s aging population to see what factors may have contributed to the “soaring” STD rates in older Americans.
According to the analysis, new medication that enable patients to “remain sexually active later in life,” higher divorce rates, low use of condoms due to smaller potential for pregnancy, and “older adults may not have received the same safe sex education in school that younger generations have,” were all reasons America’s elderly may be experiencing higher rates of infection than previous years.
In 2020, the CDC reported there were about five marriages per 1,000 people, and only 1.67 marriages in the country. More recent data was not available. When it came to divorces and annulments, the CDC reported there were 630,505 in 2020, or 2.3 per 1,000 people, though the data did not include numbers from California, Hawaii, Indiana, Minnesota or New Mexico for divorce numbers.
While Florida had the seventh highest level of chlamydia in the U.S. from 2010 to 2019, more current data from 2020 and 2021 is not yet available in full. Of the diseases studied for the HelpAdvisor analysis, Florida only made it into the top 10 for seniors for chlamydia. For gonorrhea and HIV, Florida did not make the list.
Nationally, STD rates increased across the board for all three diseases, though HelpAdvisor particularly noted the higher occurrences of gonorrhea, which rose as much as 1,900% in Oregon, and over 1,000% in four other states.