Sexual problems and other possible symptoms

There is a growing body of medical literature about a possible link between sexual dysfunction and HAART, particularly the PIs. A small number of people on HAART have experienced reduced sex drive and sexual dysfunction which may be linked to metabolic disorders.1

One study of nearly 200 HIV-positive men found that 24% of the men taking HAART reported sexual problems compared with only 4% of those who were not on HAART. The prevalence of sexual dysfunction was six times higher in the treated men, with PI therapy most associated with sexual problems, although there was no difference in testosterone levels between treated and untreated men.2 3

Another study of approximately 900 HIV-infected men and women who were taking antiretroviral therapy has found that sexual dysfunction was linked to PIs, disease symptoms, use of tranquillisers, age, and contracting HIV through sex between men.4 Other studies have linked PIs (particularly ritonavir) with sexual dysfunction,5 while others have not.6

See also Sexual problems in A to Z of symptoms for details of management of these problems.


  1. Martinez E et al. Sexual dysfunction with protease inhibitors. Lancet 353: 810-811, 1999b
  2. Collazos J et al. Sexual hormones in HIV-infected patients: the influence of antiretroviral therapy. AIDS 16(6): 934-937, 2002a
  3. Collazos J et al. Sexual dysfunction in HIV-infected patients treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 31(3): 322-326, 2002b
  4. Schrooten W et al. Sexual dysfunction associated with protease inhibitor containing highly active antiretroviral treatment. AIDS 15(8): 1019-1023, 2001
  5. Colson AE et al. Male sexual dysfunction associated with antiretroviral therapy. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 30: 27-32, 2002
  6. Lallemand F et al. Sexual dysfunction in 156 ambulatory HIV-infected men receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy combinations with and without protease inhibitors. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 30(2): 187-190, 2002
Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.