Taking Viagra Won't Spur Risky Sexual Behavior

Men in the general population use the drug responsibly, study finds

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WEDNESDAY, Jan. 13, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- Men worried that taking Viagra will lead to sexually risky behavior can relax: A new study suggests that drugs for erectile dysfunction don't make men more likely to engage in potentially unhealthy sex.

"For this study we took the perspective of a doctor who may worry that prescribing erectile-dysfunction drugs to patients could contribute to the spread of HIV. The findings from this study should provide some reassurance to health-care providers that erectile-dysfunction drugs appear to be prescribed responsibly and used responsibly," Dr. Robert Cook, an associate professor at the University of Florida and lead researcher of the new study, said in a news release.

Cook noted that this study is unique because, unlike previous studies, it didn't focus on men who obtained the medication without a prescription, had sex with men or had substance abuse problems.

"In this study we looked at erectile-dysfunction drugs and sexual behavior in the context of routine health care for a group of men who are more representative of the general population," Cook said.

By the study's definition, risky sexual behavior is unprotected sex with someone whose HIV status is opposite -- positive if you're negative or the reverse -- or not known.

The researchers examined data from 2,787 men, average age 52, who were taking part in a study about aging veterans. About half were HIV-positive.

According to the study findings, 28 percent of the men used erectile-dysfunction drugs over a one-year period. About 10 percent of the men in two groups -- those who did use the drugs and those who didn't -- reported behavior defined as sexually risky.

The study is published in the February issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

More information

The U.S. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse has more on erectile dysfunction.

SOURCE: University of Florida Health Science Center, news release, Jan. 12, 2010

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