NEWS

Little Blue Pills: Viagra Use And Gay Men

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Tina: An Enemy We Can All Agree On
The current curse on our house is, of course, not Viagra but crystal methamphetamine, which most experts agree is fueling viral hotspots likely to keep HIV burning in the gay community for many years. Gay men who use meth are four times more likely to have HIV and five times more likely to have syphilis than those who are not Friends of Tina. Gay men who use meth and Viagra together are six times more likely to have STD bugs. And many non-addicts circle in and out of those moving feasts.

Some public health officials like Klausner have fixed on Viagra as the lynchpin in the complex of desires and chemicals, behaviors, and addictions that link meth use to HIV infection. "The predominant problem that we see in San Francisco is that widespread use [of Viagra] among gay men...increases their ability to have more sex partners, particularly in multiple partner environments, and reverses the chemical impotence associated with methamphetamine and crystal use," Klausner said.

And given the stranglehold that crystal has on its addicts, not to mention being easy to manufacture and hard to interdict, Viagra has emerged not only as the lynchpin but, from a drug enforcement standpoint, the weakest link in the system. In that sense, it is a kind of scapegoat. And certainly it has the sympathy of its many fans. Whether practical or rhetorical, Klausner's blacklisting of a medical treatment is provoking a backlash from many gay men who are in no mood to hear moral sermons from a straight man.

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