America's seniors are not the only people contracting HIV in association with using erectile-dysfunction medications. Some gay men have been taking these pharmaceuticals almost since their appearance on the market to combat the inability to get an erection associated with the use of so-called party drugs, such as ecstasy and crystal meth.
A 2000'2001 study conducted in San Francisco among gay and bisexual men found that Viagra users had, on average, not only more sexual partners but a higher rate of sexually transmitted diseases than men who did not use Viagra.
Steven Lee, MD, an HIV-treating physician in New York City, says he has become alarmed about the mix of erectile-dysfunction medications and party drugs. 'The whole class of drugs to treat erectile dysfunction has really changed the face of drug use in clubs,' he says. 'It has had a major role in HIV transmission. With the new [erectile-dysfunction] drug Cialis lasting for several days, we could be seeing crystal-induced sex marathons.'