STD Awareness: Sexually Transmitted Infections and Seniors

For a while now, seniors plus sex has equaled a surefire route to punchlines and nervous giggles. Take, for instance, an episode of Amy Poehler’s old TV show, Parks and Recreation, titled “Sex Education.” In the opening scene, Poehler’s character Leslie Knope sets up the premise of the episode:

Soon, Knope and her team of public servants find themselves giving information about sexual health to an audience full of elderly citizens, which attracts the attention of abstinence advocates, who accuse her of moral depravity. Hilarity ensues. Funny stuff!

Funny, but based on a not-so-funny reality: Baby boomers and other older people are facing rising rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), both here in Arizona and nationwide, as well as across the pond in Jolly Old England.

Earlier this year, the Arizona Department of Health Services released data showing an increase in STD rates among people 55 years of age or older. For example, in Maricopa County, this population more than doubled its gonorrhea rate, which climbed from 6.1 cases per 100,000 people in 2012, to 12.7 per 100,000 people in 2014. That’s still much lower than the overall rate for Arizona, which was 97.8 cases per 100,000 people in 2013, but the fact that the rates of gonorrhea and other STDs are spiking among the 55-plus population is alarming nevertheless. Continue reading

A First of Its Kind: The Body Love Conference

Body Love ConferenceOn April 5, 2014, women and their allies from all over the world convened at the University of Arizona for the inaugural Body Love Conference. Kicked off by Tucson’s own Jes Baker of the Militant Baker blog, the Body Love Conference sought to educate, advocate, and provide a safe space for those identifying as women, and their allies, in order to revolutionize the way bodies are perceived.


“The way we view our bodies determines the way we participate in the world.”


Throughout the conference, participants attended workshops conducted by speakers comprising women of all sizes, women of color, transgender women, and aging women. Each workshop carried variations on the same message: the critical importance of empowering women through providing access to a supportive community and education on body acceptance. It is clear that whatever thoughts you have had about yourself and your body image, someone else has had them too. You are not alone. Below is a cross-section of four of the 33 Body Love Conference presenters, who spoke out against the power of body shame by showing us that all of our bodies are normal — and normal bodies are lovable. Continue reading