Viagra use in older men linked to increased STD infection risk



The late 90s witnessed the widespread use of erectile dysfunction drugs among men, especially in the middle-aged and older. These drugs were welcomed as treatment for sexual dysfunction among men which translated to increased quality of life.

The most popular of these drugs is Viagra (sildenafil) and it is easily available over-the-counter in many countries and is extensively marketed over the Internet. Estimates showed that since the introduction of Viagra in the US market in 1998, the rate of erectile dysfunction drug use increased. By 2002, about 20% of American men older than 40 have tried taking an erectile dysfunction drug.

The increased use of erectile dysfunction drugs also coincided with an increase rate of HIV infection among men in the same age group. Thus researchers investigated whether there is a link between erectile dysfunction drug use and increased risk for sexually transmitted disease (STD). Insurance records of more than 1.4 American men over 40 were analyzed. The results suggest that

“…those who used ED drugs were more likely to have sexually transmitted diseases than were non-users.”

The study thus suggests that erectile dysfunction drug use is linked to increased risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STD), with HIV infection as the most frequently acquired STD, followed by chlamydia. However, STD rates in the general population did not increase. It is thus possible that the use of erectile dysfunction drugs led to increased risky sexual behaviour that could lead to high risk for STD infection.

According to lead author Dr. Anupam B. Jena of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Department of Medicine

“Anyone who does not practice safer sex, no matter their age, can contract an STD. Even though STDs are quite rare among older men — on the order of 1 per 1,000 individuals — we found that STD rates in men who used ED drugs were two to three times higher, both before and after they filled their first prescription.”

It is possible that older men probably belong to a generation who were not well-educated on the topic of safe sex. This is in contrast to younger people whose generation grew up with warnings against the likes of incurable STD infections such as hepatitis C and HIV.

Doctors who are asked to prescribe erectile dysfunction drugs are also urged to discuss the importance of safe sex practices with their patients even with older patients. Remember, nobody is too old to learn and nobody is too old to catch STD.

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Comments

  1. nice article

  2. Thanks for sharing this article post.

  3. Good article, read with great interest.

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