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AIDS. 2001 May 25;15(8):1019-23.

Sexual dysfunction associated with protease inhibitor containing highly active antiretroviral treatment.

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Institute of Tropical Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Antwerp, Belgium.



A high proportion of individuals receiving highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) complain of sexual dysfunction (SD), encompassing a lack of desire or erectile dysfunction.


To determine whether SD was associated with particular components of the HAART regimens and to identify risk factors for the development of SD in patients on HAART.


A survey among patients with HIV infection using an anonymous questionnaire was conducted in 10 European countries between December 1998 and December 1999. A total of 904 individuals currently receiving antiretroviral agents were included in the analyses.


A decrease in sexual interest was significantly more frequently reported by subjects (men and women) using HAART containing protease inhibitors (PI) (308/766, 40%), compared with PI-naive patients (22/138, 16%; OR 3.55; 95% CI 2.15--5.89). In addition, a significantly larger number of PI-experienced men reported a decrease in sexual potency (216/628, 34%) compared with PI-naive men (12/99, 12%; OR 2.56; 95% CI 1.33--5.03). In multivariate analyses the following factors were associated with a decrease in sexual interest: a current PI-containing regimen, a history of a PI regimen, symptomatic HIV infection, age and homosexual contact as HIV transmission mode. Factors associated with a decrease in sexual potency were: current use of a PI-containing regimen, symptomatic HIV disease, age and the use of tranquillisers.


SD appears to be a common side-effect of HAART regimens containing a PI. The potential association between SD and other side-effects of HAART, such as lipodystrophy syndrome and neuropathy, should be investigated further.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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