Chemsex among men who have sex with men living outside major cities and associations with sexually transmitted infections: A cross-sectional study in the Netherlands

Ymke J. Evers*, Genevieve A. F. S. Van Liere, Christian J. P. A. Hoebe, Nicole H. T. M. Dukers-Muijrers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Background

The intentional use of drugs to have sex-chemsex-among men who have sex with men (MSM) might contribute to the high sexually transmitted infections (STI) prevalence in this group. Limited data is available on chemsex outside major cities. The current study investigated the use of a wide variety of drugs during sex among MSM living outside major cities in the Netherlands and their associations with STI.

Methods

In 2018, 350 MSM were recruited at STI clinics and 250 MSM completed an online questionnaire. Questionnaire data were linked to clients' most recent STI laboratory test results. Chemsex was defined as using cocaine, crystal meth, designer drugs, GHB/GBL, ketamine, speed, or XTC/MDMA during sex in the preceding six months. The use of other drugs was also assessed. Determinants (chemsex, specific drugs, number of drugs, combining, and frequency) potentially associated with STI were assessed using multivariable logistic regression analyses adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics and sexual history.

Results

Chemsex was reported by 35% (95%CI: 29-41) of the 250 participants. XTC/MDMA (27%; 68/250) and GHB/GBL (26%; 64/250) were the most used drugs. STI positivity was 33% (29/87) in MSM engaging in chemsex and 12% (12/163) in MSM not engaging in chemsex (p

Conclusion

This study shows that chemsex is prevalent among MSM visiting the STI clinic outside major cities in the Netherlands, suggesting that health services in both urban and non urban areas should be aware of and informed on chemsex. MSM who used multiple drugs are at particular risk for STI, indicating a special need for STI prevention and care in this group.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0216732
Number of pages15
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume14
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2019

Keywords

  • ILLICIT DRUG-USE
  • RISK BEHAVIOR
  • SUBSTANCE USE
  • GAY MEN
  • HIV

Cite this