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Nov 11, 1997

If you eliminate "high risk behavior when under the influence of poppers, et. al." are there any reliable studies that prove occasional use of poppers "directly" causes damage to the health of an individual who may or may not be HIV +.

Thank you.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question. IN ADDITION to the psychological effects of poppers in increasing a persons risk of HIV and other STD's, there have been reports of other potential health risks associated with poppers. This drug has been known to have effects on the heart, so it should not be used for recreational purposes, in persons with heart disease. A person with heart problems should therefore not use poppers without discussing this with their doctor first! In addition, some research reports state that metabolism of this drug in the body may cause potential cancer-causing by-products.

Although poppers has now been shown NOT to cause Kaposi's Sarcoma (as previously theorized), there is the technical possibility that it could lead to other forms of cancer (although clinical studies in this area are lacking). Poppers have also been shown to possibly harm the immune system to a limited extent. However, poppers will NOT cause the type (and severity) of immunosupression we see with diseases of the immune system, like AIDS or leukemia. Poppers was proven long ago, NOT to be the cause of AIDS! So, if poppers do have an effect on the immune system, it's effects appear to be limited.

Of course, we cannot forget the psychological effects that poppers are known to cause. For more information, see the question, "Hiv and Poppers." Like any other drug, the more a person uses poppers, the greater the potential for harmful effects to the body. However, you will not find many studies looking at the direct harmful effects of poppers on the body.

I'm glad to help!

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