Keeping Safe

Here on the Fourth of July, when you think of celebrations, you think fireworks, right? Those of us with a more public health mindset might be thinking poppers too, but maybe not the kind you’re thinking about. Any time there are celebrations, there are substances that can put you at risk. This month’s newsletter from the wonderful folks at the San Francisco Department of Public Health STD division has some interesting info we all should know about poppers. Just like most people don’t think those little pull-string poppers are real fireworks, lots of people don’t think of poppers you inhale are actual drugs. Oh but they are…

As the newsletter states, “Although poppers (nitrite inhalants) have been around for decades, information about their effects and risks has not always been consistent. Poppers are usually sold in small glass bottles, often marketed as “video head cleaner”, “room deodorizer” or “leather cleaner”. Poppers make blood vessels bigger, speed the heart rate and cause a “rush” feeling in the brain. When used with sex, patients sniff the vapors to enhance orgasm, prolong sex and relax vaginal/anal muscles for easier entry of the penis. Research studies consistently find poppers use to be linked with new STDs and HIV. Often, poppers are used with other drugs (eg. cocaine, methamphetamine) during sex. Combining poppers and erectile dysfunction drugs (eg. Viagra) may cause a drop in blood pressure.” [by MP/KB]

Whatever kind of celebrating you’re doing, it’s important to stay safe. Don’t lose a hand, or an eye, or an infection-free future. For more information visit the SF DPH STD site and then click “Poppers Information Sheet”.

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