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Medical News

ED Drugs: For Dysfunction or Fun?

June 8, 2006

A new study sheds light on the topic of condoms and the use of erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs among young men in Chicago.

Researchers at Children's Memorial Hospital surveyed 234 sexually active males at three Chicago colleges. The men were predominantly white (66 percent), ages 18-20 (64 percent) and heterosexual (95 percent).

Only 47 percent of the men reported always using a condom for penetrative sex. Thirteen percent reported they had "difficulty getting or keeping an erection," although only one had discussed the problem with a physician. Twenty-five percent reported they sometimes experienced ED when using a condom. Six men -- five of whom were gay or bisexual -- reported having been diagnosed with an STD.

"Those who had problems while putting on a condom were four times more likely to use condoms inconsistently and five times more likely to have multiple sex partners," said Dr. Najah Senno Musacchio, principal investigator.

Six percent of the men reported using ED drugs; Musacchio suggested some men might be reluctant to admit using the drugs. "Six percent is a surprisingly high proportion of young, heterosexual men," she said. Eight said they used the drugs to treat ED; four used them to enhance sexual performance; and two cited "other" reasons. Only one man obtained his ED drugs from a medical provider; the rest got them from friends or the Internet. Most of the men using ED drugs also used alcohol and/or illicit drugs.

Because club drugs may lower inhibitions, their combination with ED drugs is troubling, Musacchio said. "This is very concerning for the spread of [STDs] and for unwanted pregnancies. Young men need to be warned about mixing [street] drugs with medications like Viagra."

In addition, Musacchio said, "Doctors should specifically ask if young men experience ED when using condoms. We're trying to attack the growing problem of [STDs]. So if patients lose their erection when putting on a condom, that's something physicians and patients should be talking about."

The study's results were presented at a recent meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in San Francisco.

Back to other news for June 8, 2006

Adapted from:
Chicago Tribune
06.06.2006; Judy Peres

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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