Stimulant-Induced Enhanced Sexual Desire as a Potential Contributing Factor in HIV Transmission

National Institute on Drug Abuse, 6001 Executive Blvd., Rm. 5274, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
American Journal of Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 12.3). 02/2007; 164(1):157-60. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.164.1.157
Source: PubMed


Stimulant abuse is associated with an increased risk of contracting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Although sharing of contaminated needles is one of the routes by which HIV is spread, noninjection abusers are also at high risk. The authors investigated the effect of the stimulant drug methylphenidate (given intravenously) on sexual desire as a possible contributing factor to risky sexual behavior associated with the contraction of HIV.
The effects of intravenous methylphenidate (0.5 mg/kg) on self-reports of sexual desire (rated from 0-10) were evaluated in 39 comparison subjects and 39 cocaine abusers.
Intravenous methylphenidate significantly increased self-reports of sexual desire in comparison subjects (1.4 versus 3.7) and cocaine abusers (2.8 versus 4.8).
Stimulant-induced enhancement of sexual desire could be one mechanism by which stimulant drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine increase the risk for HIV transmission even when they are not injected.

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    • "Furthermore, there are numerous studies that have shown that both injection drug users and non-injection drug users engage in sexual behaviors that put them at risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Despite great strides made in intervening with drug users to decrease injection-related risks, the injection practices and sexual risk behavior of injection drug users and their non-drug-using partners continue to perpetuate the HIV epidemic.1314151617181920 Substance users enrolled in substance use treatment programs have also demonstrated risky sexual behavior in some studies.212223 "
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    • "Sexual motivation level predicts greater sexual risk intentions (Ariely and Loewenstein, 2006). In fact, sexual motivation levels predict people's intentions to engage in risky sexual behaviors better than the amount of alcohol consumed in replicated laboratory studies (George et al., 2009; Prause et al., 2011) and has been suggested to be the primary mechanism by which drugs promote sexual risk behaviors (Volkow et al., 2007). "
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    • "In particular, intravenous administration of methylphenidate at a high dose of 0.5 mg/kg body weight has been shown to enhance self-reported sexual desire (Volkow et al., 2007) while administration of a moderate oral dose of methylphenidate (20 mg) had no effects (Volkow et al., 2007). Finally, to our knowledge there are no experimental data on the effects of MDMA on sexual perception and arousal. "
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