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London clinic provides ‘slamming kits’ for gay men using hardcore drugs

August 7, 2014

A clinic has become the first in London to provide packs of clean syringes, spoons and thermometers for gay and bisexual men who use hardcore drugs.

The Burrell Street sexual health clinic in Southwark has distributed more than 120 kits since December last year.

‘Chemsex’, the use of drugs such as crystal meth, GHB/GBL and mephedrone for sexual activity, has increased among a proportion of gay and bisexual men in recent years.

However, it still remains a minority activity within the LGBT community. The recent annual Crime Survey for England and Wales found 1% of gay and bisexual men had used crystal meth.

Last summer, a report by the National AIDS Trust found that a small number of gay and bisexual men are increasingly sharing needles and using drugs in the context of “risky” sexual behaviour.

Robert Palmer, a psychotherapist at Burrell Street, said: “Our slamming kits are by no means designed to encourage men to take part in this trend. They’re to ensure that if men are choosing to inject, that they are doing it safely.

“The kits contain colour-coded needles so each user can easily see which is theirs, lessening the chance of using someone else’s.”

The London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark have the highest rates of HIV in the UK.

Public Health England has previously raised concerns that chemsex could be behind rising rates of HIV and sexually transmitted infections in gay and bisexual men, which have been increasing nationally for several years.

A report published by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in March suggested many gay and bisexual men use drugs during sex in order to mask self-esteem or self-confidence issues.

David Stuart, substance use lead at London’s 56 Dean Street sexual health clinic told PinkNews in April that preference could also be down to just general pleasure.

 

More: Bisexual men, chemsex, drugs, England, gay and bisexual men, gay men, London, men who have sex with men, MSM, sexual health clinic, slamming

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