Demand for and availability of specialist chemsex services in the UK: A cross-sectional survey of sexual health clinics

H. Wiggins, D. Ogaz, H. Mebrahtu, A. Sullivan, O. Bowden-Jones, N. Field, Gwenda Hughes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background/introduction: Chemsex amongst men who have sex with men (MSM) is well documented in major cities within the United Kingdom (UK), but few data from less urban areas exist. We undertook a survey of sexual health clinic (SHC) healthcare workers (HCWs) to explore demand for and availability of chemsex services to understand training needs and inform service planning. Methods: An online survey was distributed to HCWs in all SHCs across the UK. For English clinics, we explored associations between responses and geo-demographic region using national surveillance data and population statistics. Results: Responses were received from 56% (150/270) of SHC's in the UK (89% (133/150) from English clinics). 80% (103/129) of UK clinics reported chemsex consultations and in 50% (65/129) these occurred at least monthly, with no significant difference found when analysed by the geo-demographic characteristics of England (p=0.38). Respondents from most clinics (99% (117/118)) wanted chemsex training, 81 %(103/129) felt there was a local clinical need for a chemsex service and 33% (14/43) had chemsex care-pathways for referrals in place. Discussion/conclusion: Patients reporting chemsex regularly present to SHCs throughout the UK including rural areas. Given the potential negative health outcomes associated with chemsex, there is a need for local, high quality, appropriate services and training to minimise harm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-158
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Volume55
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

Keywords

  • Chemsex
  • Sexual health
  • Sexualised drug use

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