What is chemsex?
The term ‘chemsex’ describes when people have sex involving one or more of three specific drugs:
Chemsex is most common among men who have sex with men, but it is becoming more common among people engaging in heterosexual sex and people identifying as LGBT+.
All of the drugs involved can be harmful individually and in combination.
How to support someone who uses chemsex drugs
Supporting someone who is using chemsex drugs should begin with an open, honest conversation. It’s important to explore each person’s situation, including what drugs they are taking, how often, and their physical, health, mental health, and social circumstances.
Everyone’s situation will be different, and the support they need will vary. If someone is experiencing issues with their mental health, you could direct them to local mental health support. If they identify as LGBT+, you could direct them to specialist LGBT+ services.
You can find advice and guidance on our chemsex information page, or our harm reduction page for crystal meth, mephedrone and GHB/GBL.
Referring someone to our services
You can refer someone to Change Grow Live if we have a service in your area. Our services provide a range of support for people who are struggling with substance misuse. We can support them through their journey to recovery and provide advice about reducing the harmful effects of drugs.
Chemsex and blood borne virus medications
Chemicals contained in some HIV and hepatitis C treatments can interact with various drugs. The interaction can make the effects of the drugs stronger and cause them to stay in someone’s system for longer.
This can be illegal, prescription, homeopathic, or other types of drugs. The risks associated with this include overdose, heart attack, and seizures.
People who are HIV+ do not have to disclose their status to their GP, so it is important to try and ascertain someone’s HIV status when they enter into treatment in a service.