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Chemsex and risk of sexually transmitted infections: a perspective from India
  1. Deepak Juyal1,2,
  2. Shekhar Pal1,
  3. Chitra Joshi3,
  4. Neha Dhawan4,
  5. Jyoti Rawre5,
  6. Benu Dhawan5
  1. 1 Department of Microbiology, Government Doon Medical College, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India
  2. 2 Microbiology (Ph.D Scholar), Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Uttarakhand Medical Education University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India
  3. 3 Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Government Doon Medical College, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India
  4. 4 Department of Dermatology Venereology and Leprosy, Gandhi Medical College, Secunderabad-Padmarao Nagar, Telangana, India
  5. 5 Department of Microbiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, Delhi, India
  1. Correspondence to Deepak Juyal, Department of Microbiology, Government Doon Medical College, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India; deepakk787{at}

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Chemsex, also called as party and play or intensive sex partying, is the intentional use of psychoactive drugs before or during sex, mostly by gay and bisexual men having sex with men (GBMSM) to enable, enhance and prolong sexual interaction.1 The practice is now becoming increasingly common among heterosexual individuals too.1 Various chemsex drugs have been described (table 1), the principal three that are commonly used include mephedrone, gamma-hydroxybutyrate/gamma-butyrolactone (GHB/GBL) and crystallised methamphetamine.1 The injectable use of these substances for similar purpose is called as slamming or slam sex.2

View this table:
Table 1

Psychoactive drugs used in chemsex, their intended desired effects and associated complications

People engaging in chemsex report better sex as these drugs help them to overcome their inhibitions (lack of confidence and self-esteem, homophobia, stigma about HIV status); increase stamina and pleasure; facilitate sustained arousal and instant rapport with their sexual partners.3 These drugs facilitate prolonged sexual sessions (several hours to days) often with multiple sexual partners. Hence, people under their influence are more likely to get engaged in risky sexual behaviour (fisting, anilingus, scat play) which in turn may result in increased transmission of STIs including blood-borne viruses (BBVs).2 3

Although more common in European countries, reports about chemsex have appeared in Indian media as well where it is commonly referred to as ‘high fun’.4 5 However, there is a lack of scientific data in this regard from India, hence the magnitude of the problem is unknown, which prompted us to write this article and bridge the knowledge gap among the users as well as the caregivers or general practitioners. This article collates information regarding chemsex, its health implications, its possible role in STI transmission and the need and availability of support services for those who need help.

Chemsex drugs

Mephedrone, the most …

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  • Handling editor Anna Maria Geretti

  • Contributors Study concept and design: DJ, SP, CJ and BD. Acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data: DJ, ND and JR. Drafting of the manuscript: all authors. Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: DJ, SP, JR and BD. Administrative, technical or material support: SP, CJ and ND. Study supervision: DJ, SP and CJ. DJ had full access to all of the study-related literature and took responsibility for the integrity and accuracy of the views mentioned in the article.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.