AIDS group objects to Viagra ads

Dec 14, 2006

An AIDS advocacy group in Los Angeles has asked the makers of Viagra to cease a marketing campaign that appears to promote the drug's recreational use.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation said in an advertisement run in various publications that recreational use of the erectile dysfunction treatment manufactured by Pfizer Inc. could lead to behaviors that increase the risk of an HIV infection that leads to AIDS, The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

The group said the drug has become popular among gay men who use methamphetamine, a drug that has been tied to risky sexual behavior that could result in HIV infection.

"We call on Pfizer to exercise responsibility by discontinuing marketing to men with mild erectile dysfunction and by initiating an educational campaign on the dangers of Viagra and meth targeting men who have sex with men," the ad said.

Pfizer denied advocating unsafe use of Viagra.

"We've always been committed to the safe and appropriate use of Viagra," said Shontelle Dodson, Pfizer's senior medical director. "We always encourage men to see their physicians for the proper diagnosis."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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