A new study has claimed that the regular use of poppers could increase the risk of certain types of cancers – but only in men who are HIV-negative.
The journal AIDS have released a report that studied men between the ages of 50 to 70 who have sex with other men and who frequently used the stimulants.
The study followed 3,223 men – 1,563 who were HIV-positive and 1,660 who were negative – over a two decade timespan.
The team found that an increased rate of cancers caused by viruses were found among the older HIV-negative men who used poppers regularly.
This particular group were three times more likely to be diagnosed with a virus-associated cancer, even after adjusting variables such as number of sexual partners and demographics, among others.
These virus-associated cancers included non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma (caused by EBV), Kaposi’s sarcoma (HHV-8) and anal and oropharyngeal cancer (HPV).
Poppers – or nitrite inhalants – are usually used by men having sex with other men to make anal intercourse easier.
However, certain testing has shown that poppers cause transient immunosuppression.
Researchers did not rule out the possibility that poppers makes it easier to acquire certain viruses that can lead to cancer, but they did note that their analysis indicates no increase in cancer risk among men with a larger number of sexual partners, or men with a higher frequency of sexually transmitted infections.
That being said, both of those factors could lead to greater exposure to viral infections such as HPV.
It comes after a recent study found that alkyl nitrites could be linked to permanent eye damage.