Nearly 14 Percent Of Baby Boomers Have This STD

But every age group is at risk for STDs.

Last updated on May 11, 2023

elderly woman drinking tea Frame Stock Footage / Shutterstock

The good news: it's highly curable. When was the last time you had an STD test? If you need a few seconds to count the years ... well, that's what we thought.

But you still need them routinely, even if you're a boomer. And a paper in the Annals of Emergency Medicine suggests you should add one specific test — hepatitis C — to your STD menu.

STDs seem like something that only happens in brochures at your doctor's office or to a friend from a friend, and you never think it can happen to you until it does. All it takes is one person to give you an STD, and some can last for life.


It's important to get regularly checked for STDs, so you don't accidentally give one to your own partner, no matter your age.

RELATED: The Scary Reason You Shouldn't Sleep With Undies On, Say Experts

RELATED: 7 Sneaky Things That Happen To Your Body After Turning 30


After testing more than 500 boomers, researchers from the emergency department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham discovered the rate of hepatitis C among patients born between 1945 and 1965 was 13.5% — more than double the 3-5% they expected.

The rates were so high that researchers figured their initial results were a fluke. But the numbers were right, which is why the department plans on screening 15,000 more people in the coming years.

It's serious stuff, too: hepatitis C can remain dormant in the body for decades, only to show itself later on in the form of cirrhosis, liver disease, or liver cancer. According to the CDC, for every 100 positive patients, between 5 and 20 will develop cirrhosis over several decades, and between one and five will die.

RELATED: 7 Common Household Items That Kill Your Testosterone


Hepatitis C used to be regularly screened for in drug users, HIV-positive patients, and anyone who had a blood transfusion before 1992.

And since the 1990s, hep-C rates have decreased by 90%. So why the sudden uptick in the boomer demographic? Since that major decrease, paper author Ryan L. Nave believes many of the infected boomers used to be high-risk and have since changed their behavior — but never got tested.

He also attributes it to decreased public awareness about the disease and a lack of health insurance coverage for the test.

RELATED: This 3D Eating Approach Drastically Transformed My Physique

Thankfully, new therapies can now stop the progression of the once-misunderstood disease to the point of a cure: all it takes is a simple blood test. Not covered under health insurance? The test is now becoming more widely available at clinics much like the one used in the study.


Hep-C isn't the only STD on the rise among older Americans. Check out Your Guide to STDs Over 40 to learn more about your risk.

RELATED: I Tried Kegel Weight Lifting With Etsy Eggs And Burned My Insides

Nina Elias is an experienced copywriter, editor, content strategist, brand strategist, and journalist.