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HIV-positive gay men are more likely to report sexual problems -- such as decreased libido or erectile dysfunction -- than their HIV-negative peers, according to a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. A survey in Australia of nearly 550 gay men has shown that 48.4% of guys who were HIV-positive reported three or more sexual problems over a period of at least one month during the previous year, compared to 35.1% of HIV-negative men.
The reason for the discrepancy may be partially due to higher rates of major depression -- and correspondingly high use of antidepressant medications, which can have sexual side effects -- among the HIVers, according to the survey. Other factors affecting sexual function among HIV-positive men included the adoption of avoidance strategies to cope with daily stress and sexual risk-taking with casual sex partners. For HIV-negative men, overall poor health and isolation were most closely linked with sexual dysfunction.