Use of recreational Viagra among men having sex with men
- 1College of Public Health, Division of Health Behavior, University of Kentucky, KY, USA
- 2Rollins School of Public Health, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, GA, USA
- 3Emory Center for AIDS Research, GA, USA
- 4Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, GA, USA
- Correspondence to: Richard Crosby, PhD College of Public Health, 121 Washington Avenue, Room 111C, Lexington, KY 40506-0003, USA;
- Accepted 6 May 2004
Objective: Given the potential for Viagra (sildenafil) use to foster greater friction during sex (owing to enlarged erection size) and prolonged sex, the recreational use of this substance warrants investigation in the context of STI risk. Thus, an exploratory study was conducted to identify bivariate correlates of recreational (non-prescription) Viagra use among men who have sex with men (MSM) attending a popular sex resort for men located in the southern United States.
Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted. Behavioural measures, including Viagra use, were assessed using a 3 month recall period.
Results: Of 164 men asked to participate, 91% completed a self administered questionnaire. Men resided in 14 states, most of which were located in the southern United States. Their average age was 40 years. Most (93%) men self identified as white. The median annual income interval was $25 000 to $50 000. One sixth (16.7%) reported being HIV positive. 16% reported using non-prescription Viagra. Age (p = 0.41), income (p = 0.32), and HIV serostatus (p = 0.85) were not associated with Viagra use. Of men recently using ecstasy during sex, 35% reported Viagra use compared to 13% among those not using ecstasy (p = 0.01). Of men recently using cocaine during sex, 37% reported Viagra use compared to 13% among those not using cocaine (p = 0.009). Use of “poppers” approached, but did not achieve, statistical significance as a correlate of Viagra use (p = 0.06). Recent frequency of unprotected anal sex (p = 0.79), fisting (p = 0.10), rimming (p = 0.64), and having five or more sex partners (p = 0.09) were not associated with Viagra use.
Conclusion: Recreational Viagra use was relatively common among men, regardless of age or HIV serostatus. Viagra use was associated with men’s substance abuse behaviours rather than their sexual risk behaviours.