Men using specific drugs to have sex with other men is on the rise, and there is evidence it’s taking a toll on the gay community
What happens at a chemsex party?
Multiple men get together and take drugs before having sex, usually with multiple partners, and sometimes over a long period of time. The drugs make it dififcult to orgasm but make users very aroused, and can also enable users to stay awake for days at a time.
Alex Klineberg, a journalist who has attended chemsex parties and has written about the phenomenon, told the Huffington Post:
It starts with a bunch of guys in their underwear getting high, and as they get more and more high, they lose their inhibitions. You can find yourself having multiple partners and going for a long period of time… It can last for 24 hours, three days, without people sleeping, new people showing up at three in the morning. It’s very intense, very hedonistic. This is more than a bit of drug use at the weekend.
What is the association with HIV?
Part of the confusion around unprotected chemsex comes from the fact that some chemsex parties are held by groups of HIV positive men who decide beforehand to forgo protection as they can’t reinfect one another. (It’s worth noting that this is still irresponsible – they could still carry and transmit other sexually transmitted diseases.) This doesn’t mean, however, that chemsex is necessarily resulting in a wave of new HIV infections, or even that all chemsex parties involve unprotected sex.