Background Use of ‘chems’ by MSM (men who have sex with men) is reported widely and is associated with poor sexual health outcomes but less is known for the general GU clinic population.
Aims To determine the proportion of men and women reporting recreational drug use and identify sexual risk taking and health outcomes.
Methods Patients attending GUM from 1–21st December 2015 were invited to complete an anonymous paper questionnaire. Age, sexual orientation, sexual partners, STIs, smoking, drug and alcohol use were collected.
Results 128 men (32.8% MSM) and 101 women responded. 19% women, 36% heterosexual men (HM) and 52% MSM reported recreational drug use in the past 12 months. Women users were younger (age range 19–42, median 23) and their preferred drug was Cocaine (12%). Men were older (age range 19–67, median 28), cocaine was a preferred drug (28% HM, 19% MSM) but MSM also used Mephadrone, Ecstasy and Viagra equally (19%). Users reported UPSI with multiple partners in the last 3 months more often (68% MSM, 50% HM, 53% females) compared with non users (30% MSM, 26% HM and 17% females). Female users reported the highest recent STI rates, 68% (MSM 55%) and non-consensual sex (21%).
Discussion We found significant drug use and risky sexual behaviour amongst heterosexuals, although MSM remain the highest users. Drug use by young women is of particular concern and may lead to sexual health morbidity. We believe this group is currently under-recognised and opportunities for risk reduction are being missed.
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