July 6th, 2010
01:05 PM ET

STDs higher in men on ED drugs, study says

More sex, more risk of STDs. It's a no-brainer.

So it may seem obvious that, according to a new study , men who take erectile dysfunction drugs have two to three times the rates of sexually transmitted diseases.

However self-evident this may seem, it does point to a serious public health problem. HIV/AIDS was the most-seen STD in the study, suggesting that a growing number of older men may be passing along incurable diseases.

ED drug users were more likely to have at least one sexually transmitted disease in the year before and the year after beginning treatment, researchers found.

Scientists looked at the health insurance records of nearly 34,000 men who had at least one filled prescription for a drug indicated for erectile dysfunction, and compared them against the records of nearly 1.4 million men who did not have a prescription for any such treatment.

The method of the study - looking at health records retrospectively - prevents the authors from drawing conclusions about whether erectile dysfunction drugs lead to more STDs. The researchers suggest, however, that the association between these drugs and STDs may have to do with the patients themselves, rather than the availability of erectile dysfunction treatments.

"Counseling about safe sexual practices and screening for STDs should accompany the prescription of ED drugs," the authors wrote.

The study appears in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. Clearwater

    I'm wondering if their rates of STDs are the same as other men similarly aged, but their doctors, knowing they are sexually active, are more likely to order STD testing and discover it.

    July 6, 2010 at 13:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. AshannaK

    Oh, boy, what next. Seems the cure is worse than the disease. I think this article is saying that men who had an E.D.
    problem har now running amok. And if the instance of men getting more STDs is on the rise, what is happening to

    July 6, 2010 at 14:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CMR73

      I wonder if sexual orientation of the men on the E.D. drugs was taken into consideration during this study? Of course, that's not a very politically correct thing to ask, but could be an important factor in the outcome of this study. Also, it might not be such a big issue if the study is talking tenths of a percent when it comes to the rates of infection. If .05% of men NOT taking E.D. drugs have an STD while .10% of ment taking E.D. drugs do, it's still a very small total number even though it is 200% more than the non-E.D. group. It's important to keep things in perspective.

      July 6, 2010 at 16:52 | Report abuse |
  3. AshannaK

    Oh, boy, what next. Seems the cure is worse than the disease. I think this article is saying that men who had an E.D.
    problem are now running amok. And if the instance of men getting more STDs is on the rise, what is happening to

    July 6, 2010 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. AshannaK

    Pardon the double comment>

    July 6, 2010 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. DNA

    Also just in: Breathing disorders higher in people who are still alive.

    July 6, 2010 at 15:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • OY!


      July 6, 2010 at 16:36 | Report abuse |
    • the Marquis

      Ok, I rarely comment, but that was a pretty darn decent/poignant/hilarious observation.

      July 6, 2010 at 22:46 | Report abuse |
    • Sidewinder

      Kudos DNA...I needed a good laugh today! I owe you one.

      July 6, 2010 at 23:51 | Report abuse |
    • TheThinker

      Wow, that's hitting the nail on the head, DNA...I just don't understand, what did they THINK they'd find?!? Oh, they probably didn't think; the "monetary costs" of the study overwhelmed their heads...seems like some peoples' heads are around the groin area, while others' around the wallet-holding area...

      July 7, 2010 at 01:39 | Report abuse |
  6. Tired of Meaningless Studies

    You can find all kinds of meaningless correlations if you look hard enough.
    Perhaps what this really means is that STDs are more prevalent in men who are more sexually active and men who are more sexually active are more likely to seek drugs for ED in order to stay more active.
    Well, DUH, that's not news.
    And my conclusion is just as well supported as this so-called study.

    July 6, 2010 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Ghost

    I hope no taxpayers dollars we're used for this "study."

    July 6, 2010 at 16:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • OY!

      No, but I am sure the lab rats are exhausted!

      July 6, 2010 at 16:36 | Report abuse |
    • Old Enough To Know

      Of course they were, you can't get dental coverage on Medicaid but you CAN get Viagra... Go figure. Come on guys I want to hear the outrage and hoopla about your tax dollar going to guys who can't get it up!!

      July 6, 2010 at 23:21 | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      Viagra is covered by most health insurance so yes you are paying for it. But you're not paying for the women to use birth control to keep these guys from impregnating everything in sight.

      July 7, 2010 at 00:34 | Report abuse |
  8. Obvious Conclusion

    I'm not surprised to read that older men are the cause of a lot of incurable sexually transmitted diseases. I just got rid of a guy like this whom I cannot convince that he could catch HIV. I even had him talk to someone at the toll free number at the Center for Disease Control and yet he was in total denial.

    July 6, 2010 at 17:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Karen

      Damn, hit the wrong tab..I wanted to reply and agree with a writer. Most men are in denial when it comes to dealing with medical problems and asking for help. I believe that nowadays, majority of men don't want to know if they have HIV or the AIDS virus. "Men dont want love, they just want to throw it around", Bea Arthur, Golden Girls R.I.P In my opinion, men like to spread disease, partake in procreation of unwanted children and cause war=They are just selfish and heartless. No wonder so many women are single parents. Why do the Catholics deny a womans right to birthcontrol, when men can have their Viagra under state and private insurance?

      July 6, 2010 at 23:48 | Report abuse |
    • adam

      Hey Karen, I think they have a new medicine out for for Acute Bitter Woman Syndrome. I hear it was devolved and tested by Jack Kevorkian.

      July 7, 2010 at 00:23 | Report abuse |
    • Living Witness

      I recall when these 'get it up' prescriptions became the latest rage @ a Military Hospital back in 2000. Some of these nasty ol' coots had the nerve to approach me-– "I'm old enough not to get ya pregnant, but young enough to get ya hot!!!"--and other nasty vomitisms, compliments of the FDA. I believe the estastic wonder so many LimpBiscuits are experiencing for the first time since........has made em forget how much has changed since..........

      It's important to keep the public aware of the dangerous side effects to sexual 'trends'. I have a nagging suspicion that most of the 'Readers' hurling their nasty refute in the direction of females (like me) telling it like it is are one OF these idiots thinking with their @!$^*---just like "old times", eh? (Yeah, I said it!)

      July 7, 2010 at 01:09 | Report abuse |
  9. pham

    lmao @ the last sentance of this story... Elizabeth Landau (author) just had to sneek that one in.

    July 6, 2010 at 18:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. humph.

    So these men are who are taking ED meds are also acquiring STI's? So apaprently men are not asking their partners the pre-sex questions: When was last time you were tested for HIV or STI's? Do you have HIV or AIDS, STI's? Their partners are not being forthcoming in providing the information "Oh by the way have I an STI. Obviously neither not using condoms/dental dams/flavored condoms as well with their partners (male or female). Which shows great irresponsbility from both people involved. Its constantly amazes me how people would rather suffer the consequences then ask a few questions beforehand, not wear condoms, not take their new partner to get tested ahead of time. Too much immediate gratification then forward thinking.

    July 6, 2010 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Thea

    This is no surprise, Men are highly sexual and the only thing that tempered that was ED..Once the blue pill was developed it was only a matter of time before the evolution into higher rates of STD's!!!....This isn't a bash on Men, I am sure we can remember the bath houses in S.F., and how they were being used prior to the evolution into the HIV/AID's era...All things in due time, whether it be bad or good. Wreckless irresponsibility comes at a price. Thanks to science, older guys are no longer aging into respected patriarchs of the family, there is a higher rate of divorce in the 30+ marriages and they are now able to run around D's in hand looking for second chances at sex with anyone on the fly without consequences, what do you expect!!!...

    July 6, 2010 at 19:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Charles

      ED wouldn't have come into existence if nutrition didn't have so many calories...the world is changing...just accept it and don't call men irresponsible ok?

      July 6, 2010 at 22:36 | Report abuse |
    • Whosis71

      You know, it's funny but this sure SEEMS like a bash on men.

      July 7, 2010 at 10:30 | Report abuse |
  12. Duh

    I'm Shocked!

    July 6, 2010 at 21:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Derek

    This could be the dumbest thing i ever read, we might as well say, Study shows people who have sex have get more STD's then people who don't have sex. Honestly, sometimes the headlines on some of these News sites are so dumb it makes me sick.

    July 6, 2010 at 21:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. prol

    I don't think that taking ED drugs increases the chances of someone being promiscuous, I think it's the other way around. Promiscuous guys are more likely to take ED drugs so that they can continue their promiscuous ways, and you're always going to see more STDs in promiscuous guys.

    July 6, 2010 at 21:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • fishtank

      Also, do not forget that very often, the partners of the men using these ED drugs are post-menopausal women. With the threat of pregnancy eliminated, the box of condoms goes right in the trash. Hence the ED drug users are engaging in a higher frequency of unprotected sex.

      July 6, 2010 at 22:24 | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      They've made my wife more promiscuous. YOWZA!!

      July 6, 2010 at 23:51 | Report abuse |
    • Avery

      I have to disagree with you, and here's why; I'm married to a mostly great guy who I love dearly, but whose sexual behavio. Scares the hell out of me. My husband had testicular cancer more than 10 yrs ago, resulting in him taking ED drugs. Yet even without him popping a pill, we can have very satisfying/pleasurable

      The "problem" is my husband likes sex ... A LOT of sex ... even while he's on the road (he travels for business). In 9 yrs of marriage I've lost count of how many times he's "slipped" (yes, that's what he calls it, apologies and all).

      Please, no judgemental comments about why I stay with a man who admits cheating on me again and again.

      The fact is, taking ED drugs DOES give some men the feeling that since the drug allows them to have more & better sex ... they have a right to more
      & better sex. My husband claims he "needs sex every day", but I'm not a machine. I enjoy sex very much and I love pleasing my husband, but the truth is I do think he uses his little blue pills to HIS advantage.

      October 5, 2010 at 13:16 | Report abuse |
  15. Mike

    I'd say more of a morality problem then a health problem.

    July 6, 2010 at 21:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. skeptic

    "The method of the study – looking at health records retrospectively – prevents the authors from drawing conclusions about whether erectile dysfunction drugs lead to more STDs." So in effect the study was useless in that conclusions are not allowed to be drawn.

    July 6, 2010 at 21:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Norm

      Conclusions are rarely drawn from studies simply because the researcher knows as soon as they say "Yup! A+B=C and that's all there is" they'll never get another cent of grant money. I read literally hundreds of research papers in college and they all ended the same way 'Though the data presented provides key insight, more investigation is needed."

      July 6, 2010 at 23:55 | Report abuse |
  17. a slozomby

    im still wondering why ED drugs are covered by insurance.

    July 6, 2010 at 22:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • fishtank

      Because most insurance company executives are middle-aged (or older) men that need ED drugs.

      July 6, 2010 at 22:20 | Report abuse |
    • Charles

      Because studies show that regular sex strongly correlates positively with heart health. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger once said: humping and pumping are good for the heart.

      July 6, 2010 at 22:32 | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      Not all insurance covers ED treatment; mine doesn't. When they are covered its because sexual relations are part of a normal healthy life and a man who can not achieve an erection is in a state of 'unhealth'. Health insurance should pay for those types of scenarios. To answer the 2nd half of your question ('and birth control pills are not') the answer is the same. Birth control pills are regularly prescribed (and covered by insurance) to young women just starting to menstruate to help them establish a regular cycle and achieve a state of normal health. They are not, and should not, be covered for otherwise healthy women simply seeking to avoid pregnancy. Being pregnant is, again, a normal part of a healthy life and that's not what health insurance is for. Clear now?

      July 6, 2010 at 23:50 | Report abuse |
  18. RobertJ

    I wonder how much of our tax money Dr. Obvious and colleagues wasted on conducting this study. What a startling result!!! ED drugs = more sexual activity = more STD's. Duhhhhh!

    July 6, 2010 at 22:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Arne

      I'm sure this was funded under the Stimulus Bill.

      July 6, 2010 at 22:24 | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      I agree. How about research to go towards providing birth control for men with or without Viagra?! If women aren't responsible enough for preventing pregnancy, then at least give this to the man to prevent unwanted children with the possibility of having incurable disease since its obvious that both partners are not going to use birth control. Regardless of HIV, AIDS, and other STDs, seems like most men don't have impulse control or the mentality that it will never happen to them.

      July 7, 2010 at 00:02 | Report abuse |
  19. jimmy

    And somebody had to spend money on a survey to figure this out...Rocket Scientists I'm sure..

    July 6, 2010 at 22:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. John

    BREAKING NEWS: It has just been discovered that people who have sex are more likely to have an orgasm!

    July 6, 2010 at 22:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. jeff

    And this correlation is surprising WHY?

    July 6, 2010 at 22:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. *it's me!*

    It's only common sense: if you are sexually active, you use a condom.

    July 6, 2010 at 22:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Gabby

      condoms don't prevent STDs

      July 6, 2010 at 22:33 | Report abuse |
  23. Gabby

    This just proves that more men are becoming whorez!! That's a fact because if a non-disease man has sexx with THE SAME non-disease woman everyday for like 70 years, they won't just randomly create HIV even if they are on ED pills.

    July 6, 2010 at 22:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dave

      Gabby-Condoms DO prevent STD transmission. What makes you think they do not?

      Not ALL-but many of them.

      Call any local health center, ask your pharmacist, call any sex information line....
      You are misinformed.

      July 6, 2010 at 22:44 | Report abuse |
    • Gabby

      They prevent TRANSMISSION not the disease itself like Gardisil can prevent certain types of ovarian cancer.

      July 6, 2010 at 22:47 | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      Condoms do NOT prevent STD's, they reduce the risk. Why do you think its called "Safer" sex now.

      July 7, 2010 at 00:02 | Report abuse |
  24. kris

    the internet is also responsible for more STDs! How many horny men are meeting women online...too many. The internet and all of the ED drugs will surely make all the crud as popular as the common cold. Thanks guys.

    July 6, 2010 at 22:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • the Marquis

      I'm sorry, so, umm... we should ban the internet then? Brilliant.

      July 6, 2010 at 22:49 | Report abuse |
    • the Marquis

      Also, kris, you're so right. It's just the fault of "men." Those poor, poor innocent women who are duped into meeting those "horny men" online. Such a shameful tool, the internet is, that those deceptive men use to lure unsuspecting women to their dismal, sexually transmitted fate.

      July 6, 2010 at 22:56 | Report abuse |
  25. Dave

    Dear everyone commenting on this (another POORLY written article)–The method of the study – looking at health records retrospectively – prevents the authors from drawing conclusions about whether erectile dysfunction drugs lead to more STDs.

    That's a QUOTE I lifted from the 3rd paragraph from the bottom.

    If you're having sex with people you do not KNOW the blood test results of, USE A CONDOM-every time you penetrate.

    I'm a PhD sex educator....

    July 6, 2010 at 22:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sam

      You're a doctor in Sex education?

      July 6, 2010 at 22:50 | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      Dr Doctor,
      Please tell me what is wrong with men these days?

      July 7, 2010 at 00:12 | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      This whole mess started with the MAN! So much for sexual revolution of the 1960's; more like sexual evolution (thanks Darwin).

      July 7, 2010 at 00:17 | Report abuse |
  26. David H

    This is the biggest not news story. Its like reporting on a corrupt politcian or the bad effects the humanity has on the enviroment I hope whoever decided to post this story didn't make huge bucks.

    July 6, 2010 at 22:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Beth

    No kidding! These guys who use this drug live under rocks anyway

    July 6, 2010 at 22:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Norm

      I don't live under a rock and this class of drug helped save my marriage.

      July 7, 2010 at 00:00 | Report abuse |
  28. Brian

    Speaking of men, I wonder if Ann Coulter has an ED problem.

    July 6, 2010 at 23:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Charles

      only when you're around...

      July 6, 2010 at 23:13 | Report abuse |
  29. irsh

    WHO HAS STD's on this comment chat line ??!?! WHO !!

    July 6, 2010 at 23:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. frak

    Well, duh! Raise your hand if you didn't see that one coming.

    July 6, 2010 at 23:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Kevin

    So let me get this straight. People who have more sex are more likely to contract an STD? And how much did this research cost?

    July 6, 2010 at 23:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Roger

    So their are a lot of women in the dating pool that are passing STD's to these men. I am curious as to what their numbers are.

    July 6, 2010 at 23:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Dr.William

    More boners, more STDs. Yawn...

    July 7, 2010 at 00:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Peter Q. Wolfe

    I'm also tired of this same excuse like women are innocent butterflies with no part to play in the game. I dated a girl for a short while and turns out she cheated on me. Another time this happened and I did it to another girl. It's a cycle that I have finally broken with my slow turning of faith from atheism to catholicism. I also am tired of the birth control nonsense cause there is plenty of people that go on it to have as an excuse to dodge commitment with ones faith. It shows that they don't want to be responsible moral guided folks with intentions of having a real stable moral family with a commited person. It shows me that people are less commited for long term beneficial gain in a mutural relationship instead it's devolved into a play house of screwing little children playing around with one another for a draining vampire sort of lustful lifestyle. Who says that before you should marry you should conduct sex? Hollywood does that is who and I sort of blame them and our education system with some churches for not educating people of moral sexual education and it's meaning is love not lust. It's trust not lust and it's commitment not fornication.

    July 7, 2010 at 00:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Squeeker

    Oh boy, I think there's a lot to be said for the way the story ENDED – "The study appears in the Annals of Internal Medicine."

    No pun intended – I think SO!

    July 7, 2010 at 01:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Patriot in West (by God) Virginia

    Peter Q. Wolfe
    Iagree with your comment 100% thank you

    July 7, 2010 at 01:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Andy

    The ads specify that these pills don't protect you from STD's or prevent STD from spreading. Sick people. 🙁

    – A

    July 7, 2010 at 01:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Hical

    it is an association between ED drugs use and STDs .... it is not a causal relationship. STDs come from sex with partners or animals that carry the disease ... whether ED drugs are used or not.

    Back in the early 90's I asked about the ethics behind prescribing ED drugs to men with HIV ... I was told that it wasn't ethical to ask that question .....

    July 7, 2010 at 01:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Nic

    What came first the chicken or the egg? This study only address the association between ED drugs and sexually transmitted diseases – especially HIV/AIDS – among men. However, my husband use to work in an infectious disease clinic years ago. He said drugs that help treat HIV/AIDS typically cause ED. The doctors in his clinic would prescribe these HIV/AIDS infected men ED medication.

    July 7, 2010 at 01:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. TheReason

    Older men don't care about STDs cause they don't have much longer

    July 7, 2010 at 02:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. KB

    Seriously, think of the good that could have been done with the money used to fund this worthless study. I'm not a doctor, but I could have told you more sex equals more risk. Plus, men taking ED drugs are likely of an age where they are not as informed about the prevalence and seriousness of STDs.

    July 7, 2010 at 02:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. vincent jones

    To Karen: This whole mess started with the MAN! So much for sexual revolution of the 1960's; more like sexual evolution (thanks Darwin).

    Get off the I hate men kick. What about the women out there that pass along disease. It takes two to tango. Remember that the next time your on your back.

    July 7, 2010 at 02:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. LA

    Okay, the previous responses were pretty funny, but this actually isn't a pointless study. Considering the fact that HIV is actually seen at a much less frequent basis in the general population than other curable STDs including gonorrhea and chlamydia, it is really important to determine why HIV was the most seen STD in the study. This opens the door to future research that assesses the potential causes for the increased prevalence of HIV (versus other diseases) and it draws attention to the fact that seniors are in serious need of sexual education. Increased rates of STDs among those 65+ have been an issue for years now, but it is not a story that draws a considerable about of attention.

    July 7, 2010 at 02:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. James

    The reason this happens is bc guys on ED drugs won't wear condoms. They don't wear condoms bc they have enough trouble keeping an erection without a condom on, if they put on a condom, they lose their erection.

    July 7, 2010 at 08:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. vincent jones

    dealing with what LA said, its true. What you dont hear about is the case rate of STDs in nursing homes. Those old people are going at it like rabbits. Again, though, it takes two to tango. If the guy doesnt wear a rubber, then its the womans responsibility to say no.

    July 7, 2010 at 21:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Positive Dating Personals

    I find the statistics from http://PositiveDatingPersonals.com , 70 million people are living with STDs in the U.S. alone, as well as an estimated 400 million people worldwide. It seems std people are more and more especially in USA, Now facebook increase the divorce ratio, and more and more people get std now, it is so terrible, south Africa std people are increasing due to world cup 2010, I hope people should be serious on this issue

    July 12, 2010 at 11:25 | Report abuse | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.