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Hard times with Viagra. (HIV/AIDS).

There's a direct link to gay men's use of Viagra and infection rates for sexually transmitted diseases, according to Jeff Klausner, San Francisco's director of STD prevention. The Advocate spoke with Klausner about his efforts to get Viagra's manufacturer, Pfizer Inc., to add warning labels on the product that would address this link. (Pfizer did not return calls for comment.)

If one in three gay men are using Viagra and one in 12 straight men are using it, are gay men having more trouble getting erections?

The frequency of erectile dysfunction isn't any greater in gay men, but the fact that you need a harder erection for anal intercourse means gay men are more likely to go and seek medications to provide that.

How does Viagra use lead to risky sex?

Gay men are mixing it with speed to reverse chemical erectile dysfunction, also known as "crystal dick." And they have more partners in a fixed amount of time than if they weren't using Viagra.

It allows them to have more sex in less time?

It prolongs the act of intercourse, increasing the susceptibility for transmitting an infection. But people are definitely having more partners in a fixed amount of time.

What is the infection rate among Viagra users?

In our study [of 101 newly infected HIV-positive men] one third had used Viagra in the past six months.

What do you want the warning labels to say?

If you look at similar medications, such as Muse, which is an injectable drug for men with erectile dysfunction, the product information says that "this drug may be associated with increased risk of STDs. Please speak with your doctor about safer sex." I'd like there to be at least some parity between Viagra and other drugs.

Have you had a response from Pfizer?

They don't feel it's the effect of the drug. They feel it's a behavior issue and a public health issue. They're in an incredible position to do something about it, but they're doing nothing.
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Title Annotation:researchers find gay men using Viagra more likely to contract sexually transmitted diseases
Author:Tkaczyk, Christopher
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Apr 29, 2003
Words:334
Previous Article:Man with a mission: a former national leader for the Boy Scouts, the Victory Fund's Chuck Wolfe now pledges to get gay people elected to public...
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