Chemsex & Hepatitis C: A Guide for Healthcare Providers

chemsex

56 Dean Street, a London-based sexual health clinic, has published a vital guide for healthcare workers to help them better understand, and thus better help, those who engage in Chemsex.

The guide provided by 56 Dean Street outlines the activities and risk factors associated with Chemsex in order to raise awareness among those clinicians working in the field that are often unaware or unprepared to deal with the dynamics of the men who have sex with men (MSM) community.

ChemSex is a term that came from apps such as Grindr and BBRT (Bareback Real Time) that is used to describe sex between men “that occurs under the influence of drugs taken immediately preceding and/or during the sexual session.” The aim is that of instilling sexual confidence, increasing sexual desire and intimacy as well as sexual connection between partners.

With the proliferation of dating apps in recent years, the phenomenon and its associated risks have grown. Drugs commonly used in Chemsex are crystal meth and GHB/GBL, and there has been a worrying rise in the incidence of intravenous use -- known as "slamming" -- leading to an uptick in both HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) infections.

Bad advice can only cause damage and the hopes of David Stuart, Substance Use Lead at 56 Dean Street, is that “the guide will be an invaluable resource for healthcare providers across the UK who may not be familiar with how best to communicate with these men."