Introduction. Erectile dysfunction (ED) is thought to affect some 150 million men worldwide, but many men with ED symptoms do not seek treatment. Existing surveys suggest that men with severe ED and who report support from their partners are more likely to receive treatment than were others. Less is known, however, concerning the influence of sociomedical factors such as income and body composition on receipt of treatment.
Aim. The aim of this study was to determine the importance of socioeconomic status, comorbidities, and body composition on receipt of treatment for ED symptoms.
Methods. We used data on 638 men enrolled in the Boston Area Community Health (BACH) survey reporting ED symptoms and/or treatment for ED as evidenced by phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor (PDE5i) use. Logistic regression was employed to assess the relative strength of association between receipt of treatment and socioeconomic factors, body mass index, and medical factors. A replication of these results was then provided via a parallel model using the 2004 follow-up of the Men's Attitudes to Life Events and Sexuality (MALES).
Main Outcome Measure. In BACH, ED was deemed present if a subject scored 16 points or fewer on the five-item International Index of Erectile Function or reported PDE5i use. In MALES, presence of ED was indicated by use of a validated single question querying ED severity.
Results. Controlling for age, body composition and other factors, increased household income, availability of a sexual partner, and provider diagnosis of high blood pressure were positively associated with treatment seeking via the use of PDE5i therapy in BACH. Results on data available in MALES produced similar results for household income and partner availability.
Conclusion. These data provide evidence that financial disadvantage may present a barrier to treatment of ED, an increasingly important sentinel marker of the cardiovascular and overall health among aging men. Travison TG, Hall SA, Fisher WA, Araujo AB, Rosen RC, McKinlay JB, and Sand MS. Correlates of PDE5i use among subjects with erectile dysfunction in two population-based surveys. J Sex Med 2011;8:3051–3057.