Posted: Thursday, November 13, 2008 8:56 pm
Dear Annie: I am 60 years old and have been divorced for a year. A month ago, I started a relationship with “Ted,” a 72-year-old divorced man who is also seeing two other women. He says there are many lonely women in this world and, if I don’t mind, he’d like to keep our relationship open. We have great sex once a week.
The problem is, Ted doesn’t believe in using protection. He insists if a woman is clean, there is no problem with sex. Should I be concerned? Are there any statistics on older people suffering from AIDS? Is Ted old enough to be immune from sexually transmitted diseases? — Sue
Dear Sue: Absolutely not. You can get a sexually transmitted disease, including HIV, at any age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV/AIDS is rapidly spreading among men and women older than 50, and it is partly because older adults lack awareness about the transmission of the disease or, like Ted, believe they are somehow immune. In fact, the 50-plus demographic represents 15 percent of all new AIDS cases, and part of that is due to the sexual risk-taking that has resulted from male enhancement drugs like Viagra. An estimated 250,000 people are living with AIDS and don’t know it.
Understand that you are having sex with Ted and everyone he is having sex with, including all the sexual partners those other women have ever had. If he is unwilling to use a condom, you are putting yourself at risk. He should care enough about you (and himself) to take appropriate precautions.
Dear Annie: I am 52 and work in a coffee shop. I love my job and am good at it. My co-workers are all much younger, but we get along and the customers have no problem with my age, either.
Recently, the shop hired a new district manager. He comes in once a month to audit our job performances. Every time he audits me, I get a lower evaluation than my younger co-workers. Everyone is baffled by this because they all agree that I do my job as well if not better than others.
I think this manager does not want a woman my age working in this restaurant. Of course, he will never admit it and I have no way to prove it, but I received good evaluations for the five years before he came here. One more bad evaluation and I could lose my job. What do I do? — Good Old Waitress
Dear Waitress: It is against the law to discriminate based on age, and your district manager should not be trying to squeeze you out of a job. Contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (eeoc.gov) at 1-800-669-4000 and ask for assistance.
Dear Annie: I think you missed the point that “Not an Enabler” was trying to make about those without insurance. These people have made a choice to live off others instead of pulling their own weight in our society, and because of them, there is no assistance left for the ones who work hard and need occasional help. I am more than willing to have my money go to people in the situations mentioned by your readers, but I am tired of seeing my tax money wasted on programs that allow people to live off the government as their chosen way of life. This country is now seeing the effects of what happens when we allow people to abuse the system for years. — Susie in Texas
Dear Susie: There have always been people who take advantage of the system, but they are NOT the majority, and this is not the problem with insurance coverage. A great number of those without insurance are hardworking, taxpaying members of society who cannot afford the skyrocketing costs of medical care, hospitalizations and necessary medications and are being denied affordable insurance due to such arbitrary reasons as preexisting conditions or changes in job security. The issue is more complicated than you realize.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.
To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 11.13.08