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Congress Deflates Erectile Dysfunction Hopes

Congress Deflates Erectile Dysfunction Hopes


As part of a congressional aid package for people affected by Hurricane Katrina, lawmakers ended Medicare and Medicaid coverage of erectile dysfunction drugs. Rep. Nathan Deal, a Georgia Republican, says cutting payments for the 'lifestyle drugs' will save the federal government $690 million over the next five years. But many HIV-positive men rely on erectile dysfunction medications to counter adverse sexual side effects from their treatments or to compensate for low testosterone levels, according to Tony Mills, MD, a Los Angeles HIV specialist. Ending Medicare and Medicaid coverage for the pills, he says, leaves low-income HIVers with few options to treat these legitimate medical conditions. 'Not only does treating erectile dysfunction improve the quality of life of my patients,' Mills adds, 'more important, it allows them to engage in safe, protected intercourse by allowing them to use a condom and to sustain an erection. Treatment allows my patients to have safer sex and to feel better about themselves for doing so.'

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