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No Link Found Between Erectile Medications and HIV

Erectile dysfunction (ED) medications known as Phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5) inhibitors have been used by millions of men as safe and effective management options associated with high rates of patient and partner satisfaction.

Recent reports have appeared, however, that some individuals have misused this class of drug, combining them with narcotics such as methamphetamines. These reports further note that such individuals may be, in particular, at an increased risk for HIV. If such claims of a large and expanding use of PDE-5 inhibitors are correct, this would signify an important public health concern.

A comprehensive, multi-disciplinary conference funded by the National Institutes of Health sought to determine whether the drug class of PDE-5 inhibitors was contributing to an overall increase in HIV infection. The results of this conference appear in the latest issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Convincing evidence was not found to support the conclusion that PDE-5 inhibitor use is a risk factor for HIV infection. For the large majority of men, PDE-5 inhibitor use is conducted in a stable, committed partner relationship. Under such circumstances, the risk of HIV infection is relatively small. Clinicians and educators did emphasize, however, the importance of safe sex practices for those engaging in risky sexual relations.

“It’s impressive how responsible most men are who use ED drugs, and the benefits they and their partners achieve with them, but there is a potential for abuse that needs to be recognized,” says Raymond C. Rosen, PhD, lead author of the report. “I would not like to see Viagra, Cialis or Levitra being used as performance enhancement drugs—that’s not why these drugs were approved or why physicians prescribe them.”

Irwin Goldstein, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine , noted that this paper is especially important to the field. “Health care providers should be reminded that individuals infected with HIV frequently have ED from their disease or from pharmacologic agents commonly used in its treatment. Positive clinical benefits have been reported in the HIV population when using PDE-5 inhibitor drugs as indicated.”

This study is published in the November issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article please contact

Raymond C. Rosen, PhD, is Chief Scientist at New England Research Institutes and professor of Psychiatry and Medicine at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He can be reached for questions at

As the official publication of the International Society for Sexual Medicine, its affiliated regional societies (the Africa Gulf Society for Sexual Medicine, the Asia Pacific Society for Sexual Medicine, the European Society for Sexual Medicine, the Latin American Society for Sexual Medicine, and the Sexual Medicine Society of North America) and the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health, The Journal of Sexual Medicine is the authoritative, multidisciplinary source for sexual medicine. Publishing original research in both basic science and clinical investigations, The Journal of Sexual Medicine also features review articles, educational papers, editorials highlighting original research, and meeting information. Special topics include symposia proceedings and the official guidelines from the Second International Consultation on Sexual Dysfunctions in Men and Women. Edited by international experts, The Journal of Sexual Medicine disseminates the critical information that you need to know. For more information, please visit:

Blackwell Publishing is the world’s leading society publisher, partnering with 665 academic and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 800 journals and, to date, has published more than 6,000 books, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects. For more information, please visit:

Sean Wagner | EurekAlert!
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