Health status and years of sexually active life among older men and women in South Africa

SOURCE: Reproductive Health Matters
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): W.Chirinda, N.Zungu
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Capabilities (HSC)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 9689

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Little is known about sexual activity in old age, particularly in Africa. The objective of this paper is to estimate years of sexually active life for older men and women, and examine the association between sexual activity and self-rated health status. Data were extracted from two large cross sectional HIV household surveys conducted in 2005 and 2012 in South Africa. The Sullivan method was used to estimate sexually active life expectancy, whilst logistic regression was used to assess associations with sexual activity. Sexually active life expectancy was higher among men across all the age groups in both surveys. At age 50, the sexually active life expectancy for men was double that for women ??? 2005 (12.6 vs. 5.9 years), 2012 (12.7 vs. 7.2 years). Self-rated health was significantly associated with sexual activity in men (adjusted Odds Ratio (aOR) 1.56; 95% CI 1.11-2.19; p<0.001). Among older women, moderate exercise was associated with being sexual active, while HIV infection was significantly associated with reduced sexual activity. The presence of chronic conditions was also significantly associated with reduced sexual activity among men. The results confirm that older adults are sexually active, and that factors associated with sexual activity are different for men and women. HIV among women and chronic conditions among men are areas of intervention to improve sexual activity in older people