LONDON — Gay and bisexual men who reported engaging in chemsex (the use of specific drugs to enhance or facilitate sex) were five times more likely to be newly diagnosed with HIV, nine times more likely to be diagnosed with hepatitis C and four times more likely to be diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection during a 13-month follow-up period, according to London data published this week in HIV Medicine, AIDSmap reports.
During routine appointments for sexual health care in London between June 2014 and July 2015, 1,840 gay and bisexual men were asked questions about mental health, substance use and chemsex. Their ages ranged from 14-82, but the median was 34. Just under a third were born outside the U.K. and the cohort was ethnically diverse, AIDSmap reports.
Currently engaging in chemsex was reported by 286 men (16.5 percent of all men).
Men often used more than one drug at the same time. Injecting drug use was reported by 74 men. Whereas 1.8 percent of men who did not report chemsex had a new HIV diagnosis during 2014 or 2015, this was the case for 8.6 percent of men who were involved in chemsex. In multivariate analysis (which took into account a range of other factors which influence HIV infection), chemsex was associated with a five-fold increase in the risk of HIV infection, AIDSmap reports.