Stiff little one
"Walk into sex clubs in different cities, go online to different sex sites, and it's all about Viagra," says Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, deputy director of San Francisco's Department of Public Health.
"People with these new STDs and new HIV infection are between two and four times more likely to have used Viagra," Klausner explains. Viagra itself is not the problem. It's what people do with the drug after they take it. The pill does what it does -- inhibit an enzyme so blood can flow into the penis and allow a man to develop an erection. Ira Sharlip, a former president of the American Urological Association who practices at San Francisco's California Pacific Medical Center, says Viagra won't make a healthy man a super-stud. "A man who has a 100 percent hard, rigid erection cannot achieve more than that," he says. "There's a maximum erection that you can get."
...common to mix Viagra with drugs such as Ecstasy, methamphetamines, or even cocaine. They all boost the senses and pump up the sex drive, but they also cause a form of impotence. So when men want to have sex while high, Viagra helps them party all night long. "You already want to go longer when you're under the use of other drugs," Russell says, "and Viagra allows you."
C.J. Russell also worries about an expensive form of addiction. "When you're so used to a combination like crystal [meth] and Viagra together, it's really hard for some people -- I've heard the experience that they can't have sex without it," Russell says.
The risks and dangers are well known to the drug industry and the Food and Drug Administration. But Klausner says, "We've shown these data to the FDA, we've shown these data to the manufacturer, [and] unfortunately at this point they're still not compelled to take any effective action" over abuse. Pfizer, Viagra's manufacturer, insists it has no control over abuse, and that packaging and ads openly warn that Viagra doesn't protect against AIDS. Two new competitors for Viagra's business, Eli Lilly's Cialis and Levitra, from Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline, also add the same warning to their marketing. But Pfizer marketing official Daniel Watts maintains that "stopping Viagra abuse is the job for public health agencies, and not us." (TechTV | Viagra's Wild Side)