Sexual functioning in ambulatory men with HIV/AIDS

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Sexual functioning is often neglected in the care of HIV-infected patients. Little information exists about the relationship between hormonal factors, psychological factors, medication, HIV disease stage and sexual functioning among persons with HIV disease. In this study, 50 HIV+ men completed the Derogatis Sexual Functioning Inventory (DSFI), and had serum hormonal assays drawn (testosterone, thyroid function test, leuteinizing hormone, prolactin and oestradiol). Although all the subjects reported some degree of sexual dysfunction, persons with symptomatic HIV/AIDS reported more negative mood, lower sexual satisfaction scores and worse body image than persons with asymptomatic HIV. Persons with asymptomatic HIV also tended to have normal testosterone levels compared with persons with symptomatic HIV/AIDS. No relationship was found between medications and low testosterone, although numbers were small. These results suggest that sexual dysfunction is prevalent among persons with HIV disease, is more common as patients become symptomatic and progress to AIDS and that both physiological (low testosterone) and psychological issues play a role.

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