Sexual health of women aged 40 and over attending an inner city integrated sexual health clinic

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Sexual health policy remains focussed on younger adults. However, rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in older people continue to increase. We explored the sexual healthcare needs of women aged 40 and over attending an integrated sexual health clinic in South London. We conducted a retrospective case note review and found that almost 20% of these women had STIs. These included genital herpes, trichomoniasis, genital warts, chlamydia and gonorrhoea. Less than a quarter of women reported use of condoms during most recent sexual contact, indicating sexual risk-taking behaviour. 38% of women attended for contraception. The sexual health needs of older people can only continue to increase, given our rapidly ageing population. Age-specific health promotion strategies are needed.

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