Is Florida’s mega-retirement community also the STD capital of America?

“We are more worried about alligators than crabs here”

It’s likely you’ve heard of The Villages, a sprawling Florida retirement community near Tampa made famous for its love of Donald Trump and golf carts.

Wikipedia notes:

The overall development lies in central Florida, approximately 20 miles (32 km) south of Ocala and approximately 45 miles (72 km) northwest of Orlando.

Between 2010 and 2020, The Villages was the fastest growing metropolitan area in the United States, growing 39 percent, from about 93,000 in 2010 to about 130,000 in 2020. The Villages covers an area of approximately 32 square miles, an area larger than Manhattan, and is expanding mostly to the south of the current community.

With those facts in mind, it might also surprise you that this bastion of Republican old people also has a reputation as the STD capital of America.

Residents hear the joke all too often. A Tampa Bay Times inquiry on the 38,000-member Facebook group, “The Villages Word of Mouth,” was revealing.

“My doctor in Ohio even, when he asked where we spend time in Florida, stated ‘Oh, The Villages — the highest STD rate in the country,’” wrote Jan Schweitzer on the post.

“We are more worried about alligators than crabs here,” typed Sean Donnelly.

Roy Rowlett wrote: “It doesn’t matter what the truth is. Some people love gossip about old people and sex.”

A moderator disabled comments on the post within days. It had received more than 300 responses.

Rumors abound about how the STD rumor started.

Some say a disgruntled nurse hurled it as an insult. Others believe it began with a joke on a radio station. But most trace it to a 2006 television news story “Doctors in Retirement Community Seeing Increase in STDs.”

“While statistics aren’t yet reflecting the trend, one physician at the Women’s Center of The Villages said, even in her years working in Miami, she has never seen so many cases,” the since-removed WFTV article reported.

The Women’s Center of The Villages is no longer open. And the doctor was never named.

The myth snowballed from there. It appeared over the years everywhere from the New York Post to the Daily Mail. Often, the stories seized on signs that The Villagers were engaging in casual sex or dating, wielding them as evidence of heavy transmission within the retirement community.

Unless The Villages is also the Viagra prescription capital of the world, I would have been skeptical of this from the start.

And while I don’t want to lean too heavily on stereotypes about old people and sex, I just don’t see people this age having the stamina it takes to seek out or plan granny orgies, if they even existed.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Seniors doing the kinds of things seniors will do that have nothing to do with STDs.

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