Randy Seniors Get Safe Sex Talk From James, Walker


Over 50 seniors gathered in Brownsville today singing, “Let’s talk about sex, baby.”

Public Advocate Letitia “Tish” James and Assemblymember Latrice Walker (D–Brownsville) held a forum at the Tilden Senior Center, 630 Mother Gaston Boulevard, to educate seniors about safe sex at a time when the aging community is becoming the most vulnerable group affected by sexually transmitted diseases.

“One lady wanted to know ‘Where the toys at?’” said James, to a room of seniors roaring with laughter.

Slides from the ACRIA sex education at the presentation Tilden Senior Center in Brownsville.

But the fact is, infectious disease affecting seniors is no laughing matter.  According to SAGE, an advocacy and services group for LGBT seniors, over half of 1.25 million people living with HIV are over 50 years old. Their study also found the percentages of African-Americans and Latinos affected by HIV are disproportionately larger.

James said she is answering the call of many seniors that have approached her with questions on how to protect themselves against sexually transmitted disease.

“As you are living longer, more and more seniors are contracting sexually transmitted diseases and engaging in unprotected sex,” said James.

Seniors Marie Mosely, 80, with Matilda Bowen, and Diane Dolie examining the condoms doled out at the event.

ACRIA, the national organization responsible for today’s training session, says it has targeted the aging community since its inception 25 years ago. The information session set out to dispel myths of HIV transmission with visual clips that explained it is impossible to contract HIV from, mosquitos, water or toilets.

The reel also provided examples of how sexually transmitted disease can be contracted. Some audiences were surprised to hear that breast-feeding transports HIV.

Lisa Frederick, 52, director of the training at ACRIA, said Brooklyn seniors are the most engaged with Bushwick leading the charge.  

“There’s a stark difference between our Latina women and African-American woman. African-American women are much less willing to discuss openly their own sexuality,” said Freerick, adding ACRIA has programs that educate nurses, doctors and social workers of seniors who do not feel comfortable speaking about their sexuality.

Dorothy Johnson, 60.

Walker said she had her suspicions about a sex education seminar at the Tilden Senior Center – that was until the other day, when she and some seniors were outside playing Bingo.

“One senior called out ‘I69’ and then another senior responded ‘I69, too,’” said Walker.

Dorothy Johnson, 60, who spends half of her time in her home in Pennsylvania and the other half with her daughter in Brownsville, was pleased the public advocate took the time to talk to seniors about sex and HIV awareness.   

“I think it’s really good to have sexual education for mature people, because we’re still active. I know I am,” said Johnson.

Angel, a representative from ACRIA, gave lessons on how to properly apply male and female condoms.

“I learned about female condoms. I had never heard of them,” said Irene Bowman, who turns 77 in November.