Treatments for Male Sexual Dysfunction
Regardless of the cause, sexual dysfunction is at the very least frustrating; and most causes of sexual dysfunction can be treated successfully. Here are a few of the more common possible treatments.
Testosterone levels are known to be lower in many HIV-positive men (and women also). While normal testosterone levels for men vary anywhere from 300 ng/dL to 1,200 ng/dL, many researchers believe that optimal benefits are seen in men who maintain levels of at least 500 ng/dL. With the wide availability of testosterone supplementation by way of intramuscular injections, patches and gel; there is no reason to ignore this very significant hormone. In addition to affecting difficulties in achieving erections and possible decreases in sexual interest; low testosterone levels are also associated with loss of muscle or inability to gain muscle, lack of energy, lowered appetite, and even depression.
Your doctor can perform a simple blood test to check your testosterone levels. Optimally, this test should be run at baseline (before you are showing signs of HIV disease progression) and should be included as a regular part of your lab work. Many doctors don't routinely check for hormone levels, but it is becoming more and more of a standard part of the chemistry work-up among progressive HIV-specializing physicians.
Viagra (Sildenafil) is the little blue pill that has become one of the most prescribed drugs of all time. This drug allows for some men who have difficulties in achieving erections to remedy that problem for about a four-hour period. Viagra does not in itself cause an erection, but can allow the patient to achieve an erection, and maintain it, if properly stimulated. There have been many reports cautioning against using Viagra with poppers (amyl nitrate), and also there has been some concern about using Viagra with protease inhibitors (PI) or even non-nucleosides. Doses range from 25 mg up to 100 mg, with most experts recommending patients to start with 25 mg, especially if taking PIs or non-nukes.
Counseling is also a possible treatment option, especially if depression, or anxieties of passing on HIV to others through sexual intercourse may be the cause of your difficulties.
Review your medications and their known side effects. Many drugs we take for high blood pressure, depression, high cholesterol and high triglycerides can cause sexual problems. And these are not all of the potentially offending medications. If you are experiencing sexual problems and you are not sure of the cause, check the side effects of each of your drugs. Your pharmacy should be able to provide you with a patient insert for your drugs, or contact the Treatment Resource Center at AIDS Survival Project for this information.
Alcohol use and recreational drug use are also known to have negative effects on sexual performance; even more so with smoking cigarettes. If you drink, smoke or use recreational drugs frequently, this may be a good reason to quit, or at least cut back.
This article was provided by AIDS Survival Project. It is a part of the publication Survival News.