Q and A


Can HIV positive people use poppers?

I’m a HIV positive 29 years old male not yet into therapy and I would like to ask a question concerning the use of recreational drugs.

I’ve read information available on this website about it but I would like to ask about a specific one that it is not mentioned anywhere or at least I was unable to find it. How bad is to sniff the poppers for a people with HIV? Does it decrease the CD4 count or increase the viral load?

I mean, is it really of great impact when doing it let’s say every two months? Is it better to avoid permanently the use of it? Thanks for your information.


Thank you for your question.

Sniffing poppers causes the blood vessels in the body to dilate resulting in more blood getting to the heart. This is what causes the rush you feel when you take it.

Poppers do not decrease the CD4 count or increase the viral load.

Being HIV positive doesn’t increase the risk from sniffing poppers compared to someone who is HIV negative.

Although poppers are generally safe in moderation for most people, serious complications have been reported.

Poppers should never be taken with erectile dysfuction drugs like sildenafil (Viagra) becasue the rdrug interaction increases the risk of heart failure.

These interactions can be further complicated with some HIV drugs including protease inhibitors.

This answer was updated in December 2015 from an original post from May 2010.


  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Angel,

    Please see the above post.
    It’s not possible to say if there will be any reactions or not between the poppers and the meds that you’re taking. This is due to a lack of research.

  2. Angel

    hello, im hiv positive and im taking the medicine biktarvy, and i was wondering poppers would have an interaction with my medicine. Thanks

  3. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Nonny,

    May I answer your question by saying that the way to increase your CD4 count is to take ARVs. That’s if you are HIV positive of course.

    However, there are reports that smokeless tobacco, such as snuff, can be bad for your health.

    What AVRs are you taking? And do you have access to your CD4 count and viral load?

  4. Nonny

    Hi i would to ask a question does sniffing taxi( snuff) can decrease your cd4 count?

  5. Charlotte Walker


    I am not sure I understand the question – are you asking if a lower dose of popper would be necessary when taking Atripla or if a lower dose of Atripla would be necessary to take poppers?

    If the later question is what you meant then you should not be taking half doses of your HIV medication without first consulting your doctor. Consistently half-dosing your HIV medication could lead to future complications such as resistance.

  6. Andy

    So with Atripla which doesn’t contain a Protease Inhibitor would a half dose be necessary?


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