Only 10 percent of men with erectile dysfunction seek medical help, with many attempting to treat the condition with pills purchased online, a physician said
By Yang Yuan-ting
and William Hetherington / Staff reporter, with staff writer
A New Taipei City doctor has advised people to avoid purchasing medication on the Internet, citing a patient who had bought counterfeit pills for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
Taiwanese Association of Andrology director Chen Yu (陳煜) said the patient, a 40-year-old man, had used the pills for three months without knowing they contained mostly starch.
About half of Taiwanese men above 40 have some degree of erectile dysfunction, Chen said.
Erectile dysfunction is categorized by severity, with those mildly afflicted being able to have intercourse, but not becoming fully erect, he said.
Those moderately afflicted might become partially erect, but are unable to engage in intercourse, while those with severe erectile dysfunction are completely unable to become erect, Chen added.
The rate of occurrence of erectile dysfunction in men under 40 is three times what it was five years ago, he said.
Erectile dysfunction worsens over time if not treated, and as many younger men are embarrassed about the problem and put off treatment, many of those under 40 that he treats already have advanced conditions, Chen said, adding that 5 percent of them have severe conditions.
Erectile dysfunction can be a sign of imminent heart disease, since it is often caused by blocked arteries, generally indicating circulatory problems, diabetes or other problems, association secretary-general Wu Chia-chang (吳佳璋) said.
More than 60 percent of men with erectile dysfunction develop heart disease within three years of seeking treatment for the condition, he said, adding that patients complain that many aspects of their lives, including work performance, suffer from the condition.
Citing research statistics, Wu said that only about 10 percent of men with erectile dysfunction seek treatment, with many attempting to treat the condition on their own with pills purchased on the Internet.
“Companies selling fake medicine see it as an opportunity, with many putting fake labels on their products to pass them off as real medicine,” he said.
Chen said he once treated a patient who had an erection that lasted several days after taking counterfeit medicine he bought on the Internet.
The patient was left with some permanent physical damage, he said.
Chen said he and his colleagues had sent a letter to the online retail platform that sold the counterfeit medicine, and had reported the company to the Food and Drug Administration.
However, as many firms making such products are located outside of Taiwan, which makes prosecution difficult, Chen advised people to exercise caution and not purchase medication online, but to seek treatment from a medical professional.
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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Saturday said the spread of coronavirus is out of control in New Mexico as she urged residents to stay home and avoid gathering with others to celebrate Halloween.
“Please — do your part to protect yourself and your fellow New Mexicans by celebrating a COVID-SAFE Halloween,” the Democratic governor’s office said in a Facebook post. “Stay home. Do not gather with others.”Read More
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadians need to do more to tackle a second wave of the coronavirus by slashing the number of personal contacts they have with others, health authorities said on Friday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said more targeted measures could help avert another major national shutdown of the kind that hammered the economy earlier in the year.
Released modeling updates show the cumulative death toll in the country could range between 10,285 and 10,400 by Nov 8. Cumulative cases could be between 251,800 and 262,200 by the same date.
“(The) long-range forecast indicates that a stronger response is needed now to slow the spread of COVID-19,” chief public health officer Theresa Tam told a briefing.
“If we decrease our current rate of contacts by 25% the epidemic is forecast to come under control in most locations,” she said.
Canada has recorded 10,074 deaths and 228,542 cases so far and is breaking daily records for the number of new cases.
Suncor Energy SU.TO, Canada’s second-biggest oil producer, confirmed 19 infections among workers at its Firebag oil sands site in Alberta, dating back to Oct. 18. All of those affected are in isolation at home or other locations, spokeswoman Erin Rees said.
Suncor shut down part of the site where 17 of the employees worked, but the outbreak has not affected oil production, she said.
Some provinces are reintroducing bans on indoor dining and limiting the size of gatherings.
Manitoba, which has the highest rate of active cases per capita among provinces, said it would tighten restrictions starting on Monday. In Winnipeg, where most cases are located, all restaurants and bars will close to in-person dining.
Trudeau said authorities know more now about the pandemic than they did six months ago.
“There are things we can do to help to control the pandemic, the second wave, without – we hope – having to impose a nationwide shutdown,” he told the briefing.
Additional reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg and Moira Warburton in Toronto; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Aurora Ellis and Sonya Hepinstall
To reduce the number of students sent home to quarantine after exposure to the coronavirus, the Billings Public Schools, the largest school district in Montana, came up with an idea that has public health experts shaking their heads: Reshuffling students in the classroom four times an hour.
The strategy is based on the definition of a “close contact” requiring quarantine — being within 6 feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more. If the students are moved around within that time, the thinking goes, no one will have had “close contact” and be required to stay home if a classmate tests positive.
Greg Upham, the superintendent of the 16,500-student school district, said in an interview that contact tracing had become a huge burden for the district, and administrators were looking for a way to ease the burden when they came up with the movement idea. It was not intended to “game the system,” he said, but rather to encourage the staff to be cognizant of the 15-minute window.
In an email to administrators last week, Mr. Upham encouraged staff to “whenever possible, disrupt the 15-minute timeline through movement, distancing, and masking.”
Infectious disease experts say that moving students around every few minutes is actually more likely to increase transmission of the virus, by exposing more people to an infected student. It will also complicate contact tracing efforts, they said.
“That is not an evidence-based practice or sound scientific policy,” said Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the John Hopkins Center for Health Security who has been supportive of reopening schools for in-person instruction.
The 15-minute, 6-foot definition is a guideline for identifying who might be at greater risk of infection, not a hard-and-fast rule about when it can or cannot happen, Dr. Nuzzo said, adding that a person can certainly become infected in less time or from farther away, especially indoors.
Dr. Sarah Fortune, chair of the department of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard’s school of public health, said the 15-minute definition was meant to help contact tracers “effectively and efficiently identify people with the highest risk and target intervention to them.”
Kelly Hornby, principal of Billings West High School, wrote in an email to his staff last week that moving students around every few minutes and then returning them to their original desks would help dissipate airborne droplets containing coronavirus, to the point “where the risk of being contaminated is greatly reduced.”
Dr. Fortune disagreed with that idea. “The particles that transmit Covid, they hang out in the air, and they spread through the air, and the aerosols can hang out for a very long time,” she said. “So stirring that air up or moving around from your spot doesn’t really limit your exposure or risk.”