I have lost my sex drive – what is the cause of this?
I’ve been HIV positive now since early 2007, I’m male, 28 and not yet on medication.
For the last few months I have completely lost my sex drive and become very depressed.
I feel I have the signs of low testosterone levels. My sex drive has completely diminished, resulting in erectile dysfunction. I’m very depressed despite being on an SSRI (serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitor), which I have been on for years and I just cannot seem to snap out of it. I’ve tried DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) supplements but no change, cialis but no change, and changed my SSRI also without effect.
Is it highly unlikely to be hypogonadism at 28? Is it common with HIV infection? I want to ask my GP but I’m worried incase I seem like a hypochondriac.
Thank you for your question.
Please don’t be worried, sexual dysfunction is more common than you think.
Low testosterone levels, erectile dysfunction and lack of sex drive can all be due to a mixture of things including HIV infection, psychological factors, depression, smoking, alcohol consumption, age and certain SSRI drugs can also decrease libido. Sexual dysfunction is also more common in HIV positive people not on HIV treatment.
HIV positive men and women have lower testosterone levels than HIV negative people so this could be the HIV, even though you are young. If you feel you have the signs of low testosterone then ask your HIV doctor for a referral to a sexual health specialist so they can test your testosterone levels.
It would be good to know how your life has changed since you have become HIV positive? It is easy to become more isolated and become less social. Do you have a partner or friends who know your status? Are you accessing enough support? All of these factors, however unrelated they feel, will have a psychological impact on your sex drive and erectile dysfunction.
Talk to your HIV doctor about support to come to terms with how your HIV diagnosis may be related to sexual desire.