POZlife

POZLife: Life from the Infected and Effected point of veiw.

Viagra & PNP

Posted by pozlife on February 12, 2007

There are recreational drugs, such as pot and alcohol, and then there are what I call “wreck-reational” drugs such as crack and crystal methamphetamine. The latter has become somewhat of a plague in the gay party scene and a ubiquitous shadow in gay online pick-up sites where users are often looking to PNP (party and play) or “ski.”
Like all club drugs, crystal has a cute nickname — “Tina” — and has a powerful allure. Users can dance or socialize for hours without feeling fatigued and it greatly enhances one’s sex drive. The downside is that users can stay up for days, become irritable and the toxin is highly addictive. Another side effect is stupidity, as users are prone to post “covert” online ads in flat, sun-drenched sandbars like Miami Beach looking to “ski.” Yeah, that ought to fool the cops!
Male consumers of crystal meth often have a difficult time maintaining erections. Enter Viagra, the miracle drug that not only helped Bob Dole, but currently keeps drug-crazed nights from becoming dull. Today’s modern druggie can now inflate, mate and gyrate with ease, all while enjoying meth’s speedy euphoria.
This drug combination has led to a spike in HIV-infections. One study of gay men in San Francisco showed that 36 percent of all Viagra users combined its use with other drugs, including meth. Five other studies of gay men found an increase in unprotected anal sex with a partner of unknown or serodiscordant HIV-status among Viagra users, with users twice as likely to almost six times as likely to engage in this high risk behavior.
In reaction to this phenomenon, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the self-described largest AIDS healthcare, prevention and education provider in the United States, has filed a lawsuit against Pfizer Inc., the manufacturer of Viagra.
AHF claims that Pfizer is marketing Viagra as a recreational drug to younger men who do not suffer from erectile dysfunction. The healthcare group points to an ad campaign that asks, “Want to improve your sex life?” They also highlight ads placed in major daily newspapers that show virile middle-aged men smiling under headlines such as, “What are you doing New Year’s Eve?” and “Be this Sunday’s MVP.”
“Pfizer’s direct to consumer marketing of Viagra as a drug to enhance sexual performance is primarily aimed at men who don’t necessarily suffer from a clinical diagnosis of erectile dysfunction, and we believe it is not only irresponsible, but also illegal, especially in light of the drug’s known use as part of a ‘circuit party cocktail’ of drugs that is fueling the spread of STDs and HIV,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
I can certainly sympathize with AHF’s worthy goal of lowering the HIV infection-rate, but I think they are terribly misguided with this lawsuit. First, so what if Viagra is marketed as a recreational drug? Pfizer has afforded your average Homely Joe the ability to perform in bed like porn icon John Holmes. This is great news and reason to celebrate! Why should a person have to have a diagnosis of E.D. [erectile dysfunction], before he can enhance his sex life and that of his partner?
Let’s face it, the use of Viagra today is similar to cranberry juice, some people drink it because of its health benefits — it is good for the bladder — while others imbibe because it tastes good. Personally, I think the FDA should drop all pretenses and allow Viagra to freely market to younger 40-something men who do not have E.D., but can use a boost in bed.
Of course, there is the potential for abuse by Viagra users who mix it with crystal meth. But, whatever happened to people taking personal responsibility for their choices and actions — including the consequences? Pfizer is not forcibly placing the little blue pill in the mouths of drug abusers with instructions on how to ingest methamphetamine.
In a free country, people must be allowed to make mistakes — even if they are fatal. It is insulting to gay men to suggest that they are so weak and infantile that they can’t stay away from this deadly drug on their own volition. The message sent by AHF’s lawsuit is that gay men need a busybody Nanny-state to limit risks and keep them safe. While they are at it, why doesn’t AHF sue the maker of small sugar spoons because they are used to cook meth?
AHF was on the right track when they ran an ad campaign with the tagline: “Viagra + Crystal Meth = Rx for HIV Infection.” In combating this scourge, education is the answer. If you inform gay men that a drug will likely cause a loss of job, partner, teeth and even life, most will stay away. While this lawsuit is well meaning, it is unnecessarily hard on Viagra, while we should instead be hard on ourselves for not speaking out more forcefully against this destructive poison.

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