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Op-Ed

Erectile dysfunction and living with HIV

A Filipino living with HIV who is experiencing erectile dysfunction wants to know if he can take oral pills like Viagra, and Dr. Jose Narciso Melchor Sescon responds.

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Dr. Jose Narciso Melchor Sescon – president of the AIDS Society of the Philippines and current Chief of Clinics of Sta. Ana Hospital – answers all your HIV-related inquiries. For all your questions, email josescon1@gmail.com or info@outragemag.com.

Dear Doc,

I am HIV positive, and I think I have erectile dysfunction. Is it okay for me to take Viagra (sildenafil) or Robust while on ARV? Will the not badly affect my ARV?

Me and my partner are both getting depressed already because I can’t seem to properly have erection/hard-on, and I believe this can help.

Thanks.

Mr. Looking-for-sex-life

Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to achieve or maintain an erection that is satisfactory for the completion of sexual intercourse.

Erectile dysfunction is common in HIV-infected men, with the prevalence of erectile dysfunction in one study close to 50%.

However, the exact causes of erectile dysfunction in patients with HIV are poorly understood. These could include the effects of HIV infection itself, treatment with antiretroviral drugs (most especially protease inhibitors), et cetera. Erectile dysfunction can be related to many things including HIV (if the HIV is advanced), but also on many other factors like: age, smoking, diabetes, alcohol consumption, testosterone levels, prolactin levels, use of ARV therapy, other medications including antidepressants, steroids or medications for high blood pressure, psychological problems, et cetera.

Treatments for erectile dysfunction may vary depending on the cause. The most common oral pills are sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis) or vardenafil (Levitra).

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It would be best to seek your HIV specialist doctor on what’s best to alleviate erectile dysfunction; and do not self medicate.

Fondly called Jojo, Jose Narciso Melchor Sescon is a medical doctor with specialization in obstetrics and gynecology. Spending much of his time in public health services with focus on HIV and AIDS, STI, and sexual and reproductive health, Jojo wears multiple hats, blending public health advocacy and clinical-cum-administrative work. For 12 years, he served as the Executive Director of Remedios AIDS Foundation, the pioneering AIDS service organization in the Philippines. Then in 2008, he assumed the presidency of the AIDS Society of the Philippines, which he still heads now. Jojo is also the current Chief of Clinics of Sta. Ana Hospital, and has held regional and local consultancy works for development agencies. Jojo is a self-confessed lacto-vegetarian, a raja yoga meditation practitioner, and a health/wellness buff. He also loves to share his thoughts and reflections based on learned skills/competencies and experiences. This soft-spoken soul loves taking on new initiatives/roles, and loves to talk with people about spirituality and good health.

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