Risky dating behavior among women aged 50+: A growing public health concern

Author(s): American Nurse Today

When was the last time you spoke with your patients—older female patients, in particular—about their sexuality and sexual health? If you can’t remember, you’re not alone. Many healthcare professionals—nurses and providers—feel this subject is beyond their scope of practice. However, assisting women over 50 acquire knowledge about safer sex practices, access to sexual healthcare, and resources will help them make informed decisions about their sexual encounters.

Sex education for healthcare professionals—Sex education in nursing schools and medical schools is inadequate, particularly with regard to sexuality and sexual behavior of older adults. Expanding this content would better prepare health care professionals who will ultimately be providing care for older adults.

STI risk assessment and screening—CDC guidelines regarding STI risk assessment and screening can be individualized for members of this age group. These guidelines include all adults being tested for HIV at least once.

Safe dating and sex practices—Several resources provide recommendations for safe online dating practices. If a sexual health assessment indicates that a patient is using or considering using these sites, provide guidance on safety.

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