Sexual function, condom attitudes and condom use in methadone patients
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Sexual functioning was examined in a sample of male and female methadone patients. It was hypothesized that sexual dysfunction may interfere with regular condom use and the adoption of condom attitudes consistent with HIV risk reduction behaviors. It was further hypothesized that psychological symptomatology, secondary drug abuse, and methadone treatment variables would predict sexual functioning, condom attitudes and condom use. Sexual functioning, psychological symptomatology, and condom attitudes were assessed using validated psychological instruments. Drug use was assessed using clinic data on urine toxicology results. Condom use and sexual behavior were assessed using a structured questionnaire.;Opiate addicts in methadone treatment exhibited a hIgh degree of sexual dysfunction and cocaine use. Degree of sexual dysfunction was positively related to condom attitudes. Neither sexual dysfunction nor condom attitudes were found to be related to self-reported condom use. Sexual dysfunction was found to be more psychological than physiological in nature. Length of time in methadone treatment was associated with more positive attitudes towards condom use and with less sexual dysfunction.;By presuming normal sexual function in a population with significant rates of dysfunction, condom use may be unintentionally inhibited. Negative experiences associated with concurrent drug abuse and attempts at condom use (even in drug addicts with positive condom attitudes) may result in a decreased likelihood of continued use. Psychologists designing AIDS risk reduction programs must be familiar with the psycho-physiological effects of chronic drug use on sexual functioning. This study suggests that AIDS risk reduction programs developed for drug users in methadone treatment may benefit by assessing and addressing sexual dysfunction in this population.