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STDs Might Signify Neglect Among Nursing Home Residents 

The act of forcing, tricking, threatening, or otherwise coercing someone to engage in sexual contact, whether they consent or not, may constitute sexual abuse. For anyone, it’s quite possible to contract a sexually transmitted disease by engaging in sexual activity. However, the presence of STDs in nursing homes may suggest the occurrence of sexual abuse.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are not something you usually associate with nursing home residents. In an annual report, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) noted that several sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) plague elderly Americans, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, at historically high rates. Let’s take a closer look at STDs among nursing home residents and how they might indicate neglect. 

Nursing Home Residents’ Vulnerability to STDs 

Adults who consent to sexual activity or intimate relationships have the right to do so, but nursing home facilities have not traditionally encouraged residents to engage in such relations.  Even in nursing homes that prohibit sex, residents can still find a way to take advantage of their unsupervised time, and in those times, they can be sexually abused. Even though many nursing homes now allow consenting residents to interact privately, that does not excuse their responsibility to protect all residents who may be exposed to sexual abuse or inappropriate behavior. 

Unfortunately, nursing home residents can be sexually assaulted by staff, other residents, and visitors. Some nursing home residents may be incapable of understanding consent or signs of sexual abuse if they have dementia or Alzheimer’s. Some factors that might lead to residents of long-term care facilities contracting STDs include:

  • A nursing home delayed reporting and investigating abuse, neglect, and mistreatment of residents, or it hired people with a criminal history of violence
  • A nursing home’s infection control program failed to control and prevent the spread of STDs and similar diseases
  • Understaffing, insufficient training, or inattentive staff lead to insufficient supervision of residents
  • Absence of proper security measures
  • Residents are not adequately cared for and are left in unhygienic conditions
  • Failure by nursing home staff to recognize or report early signs of abuse, such as bruises, sores, cuts, withdrawal, or refusal to receive nutrition or standard treatment
  • A lack of written policies and procedures intended to handle elopement and wandering

Signs of STDs and Sexual Abuse

The increase in STDs among seniors can be attributed to various factors, as noted; however, preventing these diseases requires a traditional approach. In order to reduce and prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted infections in any age group, education and communication are fundamental. Hence, it is important to recognize the following common signs of an STD: 

  • Bruises around private areas
  • Itching or discomfort
  • Unusual discharge
  • Bumps, sores, or warts
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Painful urination 

Although these are specific signs of STDS, they do not consider the indirect effects of sexual abuse. Clothing may conceal physical evidence, but many victims who suffer sexual abuse will exhibit other signs of distress, including crying, depression, or even aggressive or angry behaviors. The severity of depression may affect a patient’s willingness to engage in social activities or eat. Any sudden changes in mood, temperament, or behavior should be taken seriously. 

Common STDs That Can Spread Across Nursing Homes 

The spread of STDs occurs through sexual activity, including vaginal, oral, and anal sex. In terms of severity, STDs differ. Although some symptoms are mild and may be treated easily, others can be harmful to our health, leading to worsening conditions. The following types of STDs are possible: 

  • Bacterial (chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis) 
  • Viral (HPV, hepatitis, herpes, and HIV/AIDS) 
  • Parasitic (intestinal parasites, pubic lice, scabies) 

It may be uncomfortable for older adults to ask their nurses or caregivers for an STD test.  Consequently, they have a lower chance of being diagnosed with STDs in their early stages. This makes them less likely to benefit from treatments available in the early stages. STDs often are not symptomatic, so many older people don’t realize they have been infected until they suffer serious, long-lasting consequences.

Experienced NYC Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Attorneys 

Neglect and abuse are a big problem for older adults, especially those with severe mental and physical impairments. Residents are often unaware of the perpetrator, believe they are to blame, or don’t recognize or remember that abuse has occurred. If you discover that your loved one has contracted an STD, you should not assume that whatever the nursing home tells you about what happened is accurate. Our NYC nursing home neglect and abuse attorneys at Dalli & Marino can help you learn the truth and hold negligent or abusive caregivers responsible for their actions.

For more information on your legal rights and how much your case could be worth, we offer a free, no-obligation consultation. Contact us by phone at (888) 465-8790 or by completing our online contact form for compassionate legal guidance today.  


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