Chemsex: News & Updates

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News & Updates 

Chem Sex

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.

Chemsex is the use of any combination of drugs that includes crystal methamphetamine, mephedrone (and other cathenones) and/or GHB/GBL – specifically for the purposes of gay sex. It is syndemically associated with some recent and dramatic changes that affected the experience of gay sex and pleasure:
  • 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:

WFH: Drugs that can cause bleeding

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.

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Alcohol & Drugs

Further drug information is available on the Haemosexual website. 

GHB : 1 in 5 Pass out each year (& women are more at risk than men)

Further information on GHB:

Drugs – GHB – Gammahydroxybutyrate

Deaths Linked To Chemsex Drug GHB Have Risen By 119% In One Year

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.

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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.”

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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.

Improving Cultural Competence to Chemsex – Interview with David Stuart

Dramatic shift in drug use trends caused by growth of formerly legal highs

Treatment services must adapt to changes in users who inject substances


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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.

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Men are turning to chemsex due to loneliness, study finds

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