LONDON — Gay British men who go to sex parties where drugs are used are being given free kits to protect them from HIV, the Evening Standard reports.
The Burrell Street sexual health clinic in London’s Southwark Borough, is the first in the U.K. to provide packs of clean syringes, spoons and thermometers in response to the rise of “chemsex,” the Standard says.
So-called slamming parties can last for days and involve men often sharing partners and having unprotected sex while under the influence of illegal drugs such as crystal meth and GBL.
The clinic has distributed more than 120 kits since December after a report commissioned by three south London boroughs warned that men indulging in chemsex were placing themselves at significant risk, the Standard reports.
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 color-coded needles so each user can easily see which is theirs, lessening the chance of using someone else’s,” the Evening Standard quoted him as having said.
The report, by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, warned that chemsex could be to blame for rising rates of HIV and sexually transmitted infections among men who have sex with men. Lambeth and Southwark have the highest rates of HIV in the UK.
Researchers found that while chemsex was “uncommon,” vulnerable men were putting themselves and their partners at risk by engaging, the paper said.