Get this: Geriatric gentlemen popping Viagra are more likely to have VD. Doh! Yes, it’s true–middle-aged and elderly men that take the erectile dysfunction (ED) med seem to be more likely to practice risky sexual behavior. This the latest report in the recent issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
According to the report, individuals most likely to fall into this group are men that have sex with men. The data comes from a study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Southern California, where researchers looked at a representative sample of privately insured older men. The study was unable to determine if the men were primarily homosexual or bisexual.
Researchers examined health insurance claims records covering 1997 though 2006 from 44 large U.S. employers. The study group included about 34,000 male beneficiaries over 40 who used ED drugs, for whom the researchers collected data covering one year before and one year after the first prescription was filled, and nearly 1.37 million men over 40 who were non-users, for whom claims data was also collected.
They found that men using Viagra or other ED drugs were two to three times more likely than non-users to have sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The most frequently reported STD was HIV/AIDS, followed by chlamydia. The researchers did not know if ED drug use itself increased STD risk but they plan on investigating that in future studies.
The study’s authors conclude that:
- Drugs like Viagra are not only being prescribed to men with ED but also to those engaging in risky behavior. This blog has reported for a long time the use of ED drugs to party.
- Age is not an inherent protection against STDs. On the contrary, it appears that men (and women) partying with older men might want to carry their own protection (or demand health records).
- Doctors are doing a poor job of discussing STD risk with older gentlemen.
- HIV was probably most reported because its symptoms are most likely to bring men into doctors’ offices.
- Men that do not use condoms 100% of the time or are not in a mutually monogamous relationship need routine STD screening with repeated follow-ups.
All I can say is that I think it’s human nature to make assumptions, and most people probably don’t think of their gray-haired neighbor as the typical clap carrier. But making assumptions is foolish. Now you know. Carry your own rubbers, doggone it.