Background/introduction Reports of sexualised drug taking (chemsex) have increased significantly in recent years. To establish the risks associated with chemsex and the services required by participants in Greater Manchester, a health needs assessment was undertaken.
Aim(s)/objectives To identify links between chemsex and adverse health outcomes, and to determine the perceived barriers seeking support.
Methods An online survey was devised, and then promoted with the support of local voluntary organisations and sexual health clinics. Data were analysed on acute Hepatitis C diagnoses for the previous 5 years using data collected by PHE. Interviews were conducted with key stakeholders.
Results In total, 54 participants completed the anonymous online survey, of which 52 were men who have sex with men (MSM). 76% were HIV positive and 20% were Hepatitis C positive. The most commonly used recreational drugs were Mephedrone (81%) and GHB/GBL (79%). Of respondents, 78% felt they would prefer to access support in a specialist clinic within a sexual health service. Qualitative data on barriers to accessing support were determined. Using PHE Acute Hepatitis C data, 46% of the 57 patients diagnosed via Greater Manchester sexual health clinics between 2009 – 2015 had used at least one chemsex drugs in the past 12 months. Stakeholder interviews gave insight into perceived barriers to accessing care.
Discussion/conclusion We identify demographic factors of chemsex users and the perceived barriers to accessing support. These findings will be useful in guiding commissioning and tailoring specialist services.