HIV MAY INCREASE SEXUAL DESIRE
Reuters 12 July 2000
Infection with the AIDS virus could make men more amorous, which could make them more likely to pass on the virus, United States researchers said on Wednesday.
A team at the University of California, Berkeley, said they were checking out one of the basic premises behind natural selection - that organisms that happen to create conditions favourable to themselves will out-compete other organisms and thus become more numerous.
"From an evolutionary perspective, HIV would benefit by influencing its human host to increase sexual activity," they said in a presentation to the 13th International AIDS Conference in Durban.
Philip Starks and colleagues checked studies that measured testosterone levels in male and female HIV patients. The hormone affects sex drive in both men and women.
"Although testosterone levels generally decrease during later stages of the disease, testosterone levels appear to be elevated in early stages of infection for HIV positive males," they said.
They did not find the same effect in women, but men needed to be told about the risk.
"Males at risk, or in early stages of infection, should be counselled that HIV infection may increase sexual desire."