Deca-D

Even if this anabolic steroid is only a support drug in the war on HIV, why take it off the market?

"In 1992 we were scared shitless of losing weight," Vergel says. "It was a horrible time for all of us. Then I heard about boys who were doing anabolics underground."

As word spread in West Hollywood, Vergel learned of underground doctor Jekot, who was using Deca. Once they met, they became collaborators. Now Vergel tours the country with the book he co-wrote about treating HIV with anabolics, Built to Survive.

Vergel, five feet eight and a beefy 195 pounds, believes in anabolic therapy so much, he wants every HIV patient to have access to Deca-D. He reports attitudes have changed among the PWA community; though he used to be vilified for "promoting steroids," now those same vilifiers ask for advice on where to get it. A progressive doctor may prescribe a similar formula now through GulfSouth or Watson, but the old locker-room sources are drying up.

"I don't see poz boys selling their Deca-D anymore," Vergel says. "They know they'll need it up the road."

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