HIV infection in men is a strong, independent predictor of erectile dysfunction (ED), regardless of age and body mass index (BMI), according to a study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine (2012;9:1923-1930).

Stefano Zona, MD, of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy, and associates compared the prevalence of ED among young to middle-aged HIV-infected (444) and HIV-uninfected (71) men. ED was assessed using the International Index of Erectile Function questionnaire. Participants’ serum testosterone; demographic characteristics; and their age, weight, height, and BMI were obtained.

The researchers found that, compared with HIV-uninfected men, HIV-infected men of all decades of age had a higher prevalence of mild, moderate, and severe ED. HIV infection remained the strongest predictor of ED in multivariate analysis, after adjusting for age and BMI. Patients with HIV had a 42 times increased risk of ED compared with uninfected men.

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“This study shows an increased ED prevalence in HIV-infected individuals and suggests that this condition is intrinsic in the clinical presentation of HIV infection,” the researchers wrote. “The onset of ED seems to occur earlier in HIV-infected men than in HIV-uninfected men, an aspect of clinical relevance when managing these patients.”