Chemsex and Harm Reduction for Gay Men Who Have Sex With Other Men

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Chemsex briefing from Harm Reduction International. Using substances for sex and socialising is not a new phenomenon. Drug use was documented among gay men and other men who have sex with men long before the term “chemsex” was coined. Chemsex, which has come to the attention of public health professionals in the past decade, involves both sexual and drug-related high risk behaviours such as multiple sexual partners, the use of multiple drugs together, and injecting drug use.

There are many definitions of chemsex, but most agree that it involves the following:

  • Sex between men
  • Substance use to facilitate, prolong or enhance sex
  • Use of a specific set of substances (mainly stimulant drugs)
  • Casual sexual partners and often group sex
  • Events which last for an extended period of time
  • Often facilitated by digital technology.

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