Article Text

Download PDFPDF

O11 Chemsex and the city: sexualised substance use in gay bisexual and other men who have sex with men
  1. Ming Lee1,
  2. Aseel Hegazi1,
  3. Alison Barbour1,
  4. Bavithra Nathan2,
  5. Simon Green2,
  6. Richard Simms2,
  7. Mark Pakianathan1
  1. 1The Courtyard Clinic, Wandswort Integrated Sexual Health, St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Sexual Health, The Wolverton Centre, Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK


Background/introduction Sexualised substance use (chemsex) is an emergent phenomenon amongst some gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM).

Aim(s)/objectives To describe patterns of chemsex and clinical characteristics of GBMSM attending two London sexual health clinics.

Methods Retrospective case-notes review. Data on demographics, chemsex practices, sexual behaviour, STI diagnoses and HIV status extracted from a new holistic standardised profoma used in GBMSM clinics June to December 2014.

Results 27% (n = 127) of 531 cases disclosed drug use. 59% (n = 73/124) reported chemsex, 13% (n = 15/116) injected. Drugs: Mephedrone (n = 48), GHB/GBL (n = 38), Crystal Meth (n = 28) and Cocaine (n = 8). 1/3 disclosed > one chemsex session/month. Chemsex was significantly associated with the risk taking behaviours transactional sex, group sex, fisting, sharing sex toys, HIV and hepatitis sero-discordancy (p < 0.05), more reported sexual partners (median 3 vs. 2 in past 3 months; P < 0.0001) and HIV positivity (35% vs 7% p < 0.0001). STIs were diagnosed more frequently in chemsex participants; Gonorrhoea (39% vs. 6% p < 0.0001), Chlamydia (11% vs. 4% p = 0.05), Hepatitis C (5% vs 0.3% p = 0.03) and PEPSE was more frequently prescribed (14% vs. 2% p = 0.001). 42% of patients perceived chemsex to have had an adverse consequences on their physical/ mental health or career.

Discussion/conclusion The majority of GBMSM reporting chemsex were HIV negative and many perceived negative consequences from chemsex. It was also significantly associated with risk taking behaviours, STIs, hepatitis C and being HIV positive. A holistic assessment of GBMSM enables the identification of opportunities for targeted prevention, health promotion and wellbeing interventions.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.