What are they?
Steroids, or anabolic steroids more specifically, are a type of performance and image-enhancing drugs used by people to enhance the physique of their body or achieve more through sport. They are synthetic hormones that imitate naturally occurring hormones, like testosterone, to promote the regrowth and repair of muscle tissue. Steroids are sometimes referred to as roids, juice, gear, stackers, Arnolds, gym candy, pumpers, weight trainers and gainers.
Steroids also have genuine medical uses, such as balancing hormones for some trans and intersex folks or to medically transition gender.
Anabolic steroids usually come in pill or tablet form but they can also be injected when purchased in liquid form. With injecting, there is risk of contracting blood borne viruses, such as hepatitis B & C and HIV if needles are shared. There is also a risk of infection at the injecting site.
There are also a bunch of factors to consider that are particular to the injection of steroids, so get informed before you start using from The Juice. Steroids can also be absorbed through the skin when purchased as a cream or gel.
What are the effects?
- Facial bloating through water retention
- Permanent scarring through acne
- Irritability and mood swings
- More frequent colds
- Aggression and violence
- Increased sex drive
- Sleeping difficulties
- Liver damage
- Kidney or prostate cancer
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular complications
- Tendon/ligament damage
- Heart attack
- Involuntary and long-lasting erections
- Gynaecomastia (breast development)
- Shrunken testicles
- A reduced sperm count
- Facial hair growing
- Irregular periods
- A deepened voice
- Smaller breasts
- An enlarged clitoris
- Stunted growth
- Premature balding
- Acne scarring
- Stretch marks
- Aged skin
The use of anabolic steroids rarely results in overdose. Instead, it’s best to conceptualise it as a chronic overdose, as it’s the accumulation of the negative effects over a long time that can result in negative outcomes including death – damn that sounded bleak didn’t it?
Mixing with other drugs
We currently don’t have enough research on the interaction of anabolic steroids and other drugs. This doesn’t mean that there are no interactions, just that it hasn’t been looked into enough yet. We’ll keep looking an update you when we know more.
The interactions between steroids and antiretroviral medications are not well known. There’s currently no evidence to suggest that steroid use directly reduces the efficacy of antiretroviral medications. If some new research comes to light, then we’ll update this section and let you know.
The interactions between steroids and PrEP and PEP are not well known. There’s currently no evidence to suggest that steroid use directly interacts with these medications or reduces their efficacy. We’ll keep looking and update you if any new research comes to light.
To learn about the interactions between specific HIV medications and steroids head to Liverpool HIV Drug Interactions Checker.
There’s currently no evidence to suggest that steroid use directly reduces the efficacy of HRT. We’ll keep looking and update this information if something new comes to light.
While dual use is not understood to be unsafe, feminising and anti-androgen hormone users may find that use of anabolic steroids frustrates the feminising and anti-androgenising / demasculinising effects of HRT use. We’d likely experience less effective changes from both or either medication.
While both testosterone and anabolic steroids have masculinising effects that may be desirable, the use of both medications may increase or exacerbate mood swings, irritability and anger, so be sure that we’re keeping our mental and social health in balance.