Medicare Might Cover STI Testing

According to and Reuters, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (the agency that oversees Medicare & Medicaid) is considering adding STI testing to the standard Medicare plan. They might also include sexual health counseling.

If this comes through, it’d be great news. Most safer sex information and counseling is designed for teens and young adults, which makes sense since they tend to be at higher risk. But quite a few older folks are having lots of sex partners, too. Sometimes, it’s because of divorce or death of a partner. And when the worries of pregnancy go away with menopause, a lot of people forget that there are other reasons to use condoms. Since widespread discussion of condoms and safer sex has been around for less than 30 years, many of them simply don’t have it on their minds. Plus, when older men use viagra, they’re more likely to engage in the kinds of sex that increase risk. And making it even more complex, some of the “long term neurological side effects of diseases such as HIV and syphilis may be easily mistaken for other diseases of aging.”

I really hope that they approve this addition to Medicare. The costs of any disease are always reduced with early detection and treatment. And for the folks who get grossed out by the thought of their grandparents having sex, Ive just gotta ask- what do you plan to do when you’re 70 years old? Are you going to stop having sex? We need to stop freaking out about it and acknowledge that people of any age deserve to experience intimacy and pleasure!

Check out Joan Price’s fantastic book Better Than I Ever Expected for a great read on how sex over 60 can be lots of fun.

Dr. Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman is the Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations. He also writes, blogs, teaches workshops and university courses, presents at conferences, and trains sexuality educators. He’s certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and loves geeking out about sex, relationships, sex-positivity, love and shame, communities of erotic affiliation, and sexual practices and techniques of all varieties. Follow him online, on Twitter at @charlieglickman, or on Facebook.

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