Culture, health & sexuality 2017 07 25() 1-17 doi 10.1080/13691058.2017.1350751
There has been a steep rise in the use of drugs during sex (chemsex) by some men who have sex with men in economically developed countries, with associated increases in sexual risk for HIV and other STIs. This paper presents data from telephone interviews with 15 men attending sexual health clinics for post-exposure prophylaxis following a chemsex-related risk for HIV and discusses some of the theoretical approaches that have been employed to understand chemsex and inform interventions. Interviews were conducted as part of a larger intervention study, which used an adapted version of motivational Interviewing to explore risk behaviour and support change. Participants conceptualised their chemsex and HIV-related risks in a psycho-social context, highlighting the influences of psycho-socio-cultural challenges of homophobic marginalisation and the ‘gay scene’ on behaviour. Multiple influences of stigma, marginalisation, minority stress and maladaptive coping (including drug-use) contribute to syndemic ‘risk-environments’ and ‘littoral spaces’ in which chemsex and risk behaviours are played out.