Gay Men's Health Charity GMFA and Burrell Street Clinic have today announced the launch of Safer Chems
, a new campaign offering advice and information to gay men who use drugs when they have sex.
The number of gay men using drugs during sex has increased drastically in recent years. The most common drugs used are G, mephedrone and crystal meth due to the drugs’ side effects of lower inhibitions and enhanced sexual arousal.
These drugs, although may be cheap and easy to come by, can be harmful to physical, sexual and mental health when misused or dosed incorrectly, says the GMFA. The Safer Chems campaign provides information on how to dose correctly well as practical advice about safer sex.
“What we wanted to do is present something different to the ‘Just Say No’ style of campaigns that are out there,” said GMFA's Campaigns Manager Liam Murphy.
“We want gay men to enjoy their sex life the way they want but to also show it may affect their physical, sexual and mental health in the long-term. The campaign provides guidance to help men reduce their risks, as well as support for men who want to cut down or stop their drug use.”
A recent report by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs showed that campaigns with the intentions to get people to completely stop taking drugs were not effective - and in some cases, increased drug usage.
“Users are not always able to negotiate safer sex and some do not remember what kind of sex they had. Burrell Street takes a realistic approach to the face that chemsex is part of some men’s lives, and that harm reduction messages are essential,” said Vicki Kirby, Senior Sexual Health Promotion Specialist at Burrell Street Clinic
The campaign already has the backing of many saunas and clubs – places where drug overdoses have been reported in recent months - which have agreed to share the campaign in their venues.