Chemsex, which refers to a specific form of recreational drug use involving sex, should be a public health priority and doctors must be aware of it and take the issue seriously.
Dr Richard Ma, a member of the RCGP’s sex, drugs and HIV task group and a GP in Islington, north London, said that chemsex could facilitate the spread of common STIs and HIV, and serious mental health problems, such as anxiety, psychoses and suicidal tendencies, so it is “essential” that GPs are aware of the issue.
Chemsex (chemical sex) is defined as using one or more of three specific drugs (Methamphetamine aka crystal/crystal meth/Tina/meth, Mephedrone aka meph/drone, and GHB/GBL aka G, Gina) to facilitate or enhance sex.
Ma said: “As GPs, we have a unique relationship with our patients and we are experts at delivering holistic care. It’s important to reassure patients that family doctors are trained to have non-judgmental and sensitive conversations, so if they are concerned about the health implications of engaging in chemsex, they shouldn’t hesitate to raise these during routine consultations.
“The College would agree that chemsex is a public health issue and would support measures to raise awareness of its associated risks and appropriate support services in the community – as well as to help healthcare professionals to deliver the necessary care and advice to patients, without stigmatising the issue,” he added.
A recent study published in the BMJ, said that many barriers exist to chemsex drug users accessing services, including the shame and stigma often associated with drug use and ignorance of available drug services.