Older men online dating aren't using condoms as much as younger men and don't have up-to-date knowledge about sexually transmitted infections (STIs), according to new research.
Family Planning NSW and online dating site RSVP interviewed more than 2,300 men and found older men were more likely to chat about STIs with a new partner (61% of those over 60 compared with 44% of men aged 18 to 29) despite their limited knowledge, but they were also more likely to have sex without a condom.
"Men over 60 don't know as much about common STIs, with 50% believing that chlamydia could have no symptoms, compared to 66% of men aged 18 to 29," Family Planning NSW's medical director Dr. Deborah Bateson said.
Bateson told BuzzFeed News the study confirmed what researchers in this field had "suspected".
"Older men might not know condoms have changed a lot and there are thinner, non-latex condoms which transmit body heat better, as well as female condoms," Bateson said. "These are men who are coming out of relationships who might not have thought about this stuff.
"There are online testing kits available online for STIs which might be helpful for men who we know in general are not very good at going along to their doctor and talking about unprotected sex."
But Bateson said it was important to be clear that young people should still be the main focus of efforts to stop the spread of STIs.
"STIs are far higher in young people because they are in more relationships and the greatest amount of chlamydia is in under 29-year-olds."
Up to 36% of older men have had a vasectomy, she said, and the survey found the participants who had had the procedure were more likely to take risks and not use a condom.
More than 70% of the men surveyed were aged over 40, and around the same percentage were single.
Gina Rushton is a breaking news reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.
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