PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — STD’s are on the rise, especially in an unsuspected group of people.  The federal government is so concerned about the rise in STD cases in the baby boomer generation that Medicare may soon start covering STD testing.

Paula Meo is single, over the age of 55, and just wants to dance.

But if loves come her way she said, “Never say never. Because you never know when you are going to meet your soul mate.”

Americans are living longer.  And now with drugs like Viagra, more seniors are having sex.

“No more rocking chairs on the porch and just going to bed and watching TV.  No, no, no.  This generation is active in bed,” said Katherine Forsythe, an Intimacy Counselor.

“But we’ve matured and one of the great maturations is that we’re learning you can have great sex your whole life,” said Dr. Walter Bortz, a Geriatrician.

But older Americans are also waking up to discover that along with good sex comes a big problem, sexually transmitted diseases.

A federal report shows among those 55 and older, the number of reported cases of syphilis and chlamydia have jumped nearly 50 percent in just five years.

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“They grew up in a generation of free love and didn’t learn sexual habits that predated that.. that included protection against STD’s,” said Dr. Louann Brizendine, a hormone expert.  Which means condoms.  One study showed men in their fifties are six times less likely to use a condom than men in their twenties.  Not only that, older Americans are less likely to get tested for STD’s.

“So that really, really scary when we think about online dating or hooking up with people where you don’t know where they’ve been or what they’ve done,” said Katherine.

Doctors say seniors often don’t know enough about sexually transmitted diseases, and since some don’t have symptoms that can unknowingly be spreading them.

Sexually Transmitted Disease Information-

Reported by Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3

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