Chemsex: News & Updates
News & Updates
What is Chemsex?
If your understanding of the term “chemsex” has been informed by the general media, you’d be forgiven for thinking it defines the use of drugs or alcohol for sex, by any population.
However it has a more precise, and culturally specific definition.
- new technologies/online gay hook-up culture (not exclusive of sauna/bathhouse culture);
- the impact HIV/AIDS has had on the experience of gay sex and pleasure; and
- changes in laws and societal attitudes towards gay sex specifically (homosexuality generally).
David Stuart explains more about Chemsex:
Gay men having chemsex are five times more likely to have a new HIV diagnosis than other gay men
Gay and bisexual men who reported engaging in chemsex (the use of specific drugs to enhance or facilitate sex) were five times more likely to be newly diagnosed with HIV, nine times more likely to be diagnosed with hepatitis C and four times more likely to be diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) during a 13-month follow-up period, according to London data published this week in HIV Medicine.
Further drug information is available on the Haemosexual website.
Further information on GHB:
Far more harms associated with crystal meth than other chemsex drugs
Gay men who use crystal methamphetamine during sex are five times as likely to report a negative impact on their mental health, 15 times as likely to be hospitalised and twice as likely to have a sexually transmitted infection as users of other drugs in sexual settings, according to data from a London clinic presented to the joint British HIV Association (BHIVA) and British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) conference in Edinburgh last week.
Non-consensual sex is a recurrent problem in the chemsex environment
The second European Chemsex Forum, recently held in Berlin, highlighted a number of difficulties and harms experienced by chemsex users, including non-consensual sex. “We have heard many stories of men who, during sexual marathons that last for days, pass out on GHB or GBL, while the sex continues to take place,” said Leon Knoops of the Dutch harm reduction organisation Mainline. “When they come around, they often have no recollection of what happened.
“Men have spoken from two sides of the coin, and many wonder if this could be considered rape or if it’s just a part of the game. This often triggers immense shame and guilt.”
David Stuart: Chemsex is not simply a word that describes the use of alcohol or drugs during sex.
That is a very simple interpretation that mainstream media have misappropriated for exciting headlines. Chemsex is a word that I first coined in 2001, to describe something that I saw happening within my own local gay communities and sexual networks; something that seemed very different to other kinds of drug use cultures that I was familiar with.
Dramatic shift in drug use trends caused by growth of formerly legal highs
Treatment services must adapt to changes in users who inject substances
The chemsex response is reshaping sexual health services and reinventing harm reduction
Chemsex has led the French community-based HIV organisation AIDES to bring two previously separate strands of its work together, Fred Bladou told the recent European Chemsex Forum in Berlin. AIDES began to talk about drug use with gay men and to talk about sexuality with people who inject drugs, he said.
Chemsex support at 56 Dean Street
The Chems Advisors at 56 Dean Street are on hand for an informal, judgment-free chat (one to one) about all things sex and drugs. Our Tuesday evening team (Code) also includes advisors from our partners Antidote at London Friend. Whether you want to:
- Be better informed
- Get some more control of your usage
- Play more safely
- Use less frequently
- Get support with a chem-free week/month
- Stop altogether
- Discuss hooking-up apps/online sites (negotiating risks, setting boundaries, profile-writing, compulsive use)
- Get clean needles and safer injecting information
- Talk to us about PrEP (the treatment you can take before being exposed to HIV which can prevent infection)
For further information & support from 56 Dean Street
Click on the flyer below