Many middle-aged people do not take good enough care of their sexual health
, new research suggests.
A survey by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) found that nearly a fifth of 45 to 54-year-olds had had unprotected sex over the past five years with someone who was not a long-term partner.
A further 20 per cent claimed that their chances of picking up a sexually transmitted infection (STI) was "next to nothing", even under these circumstances.
This compares with just 13 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds who thought the likelihood of acquiring an STI from unprotected sex was negligible.
When asked why they failed to use contraception, 23 per cent of 45 to 54-year-olds claimed that they trusted the person they were sleeping with not to have an STI, while one in ten admitted that they simply did not like the feeling of condoms.
Heidi Wright, head of practice at the RPSGB, said that while the majority of sexual health messages are targeted at teenagers, older adults "quite clearly need advice too".
She revealed: "Over the last decade STIs have risen significantly in the 45 to 64 age group.
"You can't always tell who has an STI and infections don't discriminate on the basis of age."
A recent study published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections found that the most common STI among over-45s is genital warts, followed by herpes.