Nature Medicine | Spoonful of Medicine

Life begins at forty (but STIs don’t end there)


Teenagers aren’t the only ones in need of sex education, it seems. New research published this week shows that men over 40 who took erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs such as Viagra and Cialis had higher rates of sexually transmitted infections than middle aged men not on the performance enhancing meds.

A team led by Anupam Jena of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston investigated the health insurance records of close to 34,000 men with at least one prescription for an ED drug and more than 1.3 million men without a prescription. The researchers searched for treatments directly related to STIs and found that men taking the little blue pills were about three times as likely to develop HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in the year before and the year after filling their first ED drug prescription.

The study “reminds us that men older than 40 years remain sexually active, even if they need chemical assistance to do so,” Thomas Fekete, an infectious disease researcher at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, wrote in an accompanying editorial. What’s more, the paper highlights the fact that men who turn to ‘Vitamin V’ are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior, he adds.

Thus, it’s not just the teenage sons of middle-aged men who need man-to-man chats about the dangers of catching STIs. Perhaps it’s time for a little refresher course on intercourse for the over-the-hill crowd.

Image by Felixe via Flickr Creative Commons


There are currently no comments.