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Chatting About Problems With Chemsex

by Arjan van Bijnen in Health & Body , 21 augustus 2018

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar


This summer, the website sexntina.nl will be expanded with a chat option. Leon Knoops of Mainline: “This is necessary. Many men need a low-threshold to speak openly about their drug use.”


From August 2018, men will be able to chat anonymously with staff from Mainline’s chemsex team every Tuesday and Wednesday between 3 and 6 p.m. The chat is hosted on the Mainline site and sexntina.nl, a website about the use of crystal meth (tina) during sex. Knoops: “We offer a safe environment to ask questions, get advice or share experiences with chemsex. For two years now, we made this possible through debate groups (chemsex meetings) and soon this will be possible online as well. It offers new opportunities for men who live far away, or who find it difficult to speak face-to-face about sex, their drug use or losing self-control. Some men want to reduce or stop their drug usage, but do not know how.”

Poor Health

At these chemsex meetings, Mainline mainly sees problems arising among the group of men who use crystal meth or practice slamming (injecting). “Slamming happens both with tina as well as with other chems, such as coke or new psychoactive substances,” says Knoops. “We hear that men were unaware of the effects, impact and strength of the drug beforehand, at the time they used tina for the very first time. Men who have kicked the habit often say that if they had known what kind of impact the drug would have, they would never have started using it. Unbiased information about tina and slamming therefore is important, so that men can make informed choices. Regular use can lead to poor sexual, physical and mental health.”

STD Advise

“If you have chemsex, you must also take into account an increased risk of STDs,” Paul Zantkuijl of Soa Aids Nederland notes. “In sexual networks in which a lot of chems are taken during sex, condoms are usually not used. On tina, but also on other chems, you can continue having sex for a long time, which usually means that people are having sex at a party with many different sex partners. People can also tolerate more pain, making rougher forms of sex possible. This will damage your mucous membranes, making it easier for STDs to penetrate.”

The STD recommendations for this group are realistic: to be tested four times a year and to take measures to reduce the risk of hepatitis C. Besides by having sex, this virus can also spread through the use of shared straws, syringes and needles. HIV-negative men are advised to use PrEP. “In consultation with PrEP experts, we also advise this group to use PrEP every day, not just in sexual active periods. Forgetting becomes less of a problem then.”

Assistance

Although sexntina.nl offers many tips on self-control, not everyone succeeds in keeping their usage under control. Knoops: “Crystal meth is the most powerful stimulant on the Dutch drugs market. It requires a lot of discipline to keep your usage under check. Men who become dependent do not fit the junkie stereotype. It often concerns successful men who are in control of their lives and have enjoyed chemsex for years without any problems. We regularly speak to men who, due to the use of meth, slowly lose control over their lives. They lose their jobs, home and/or partner. They often are ashamed of it, which raises the threshold for asking professional help.”

On sexntina.nl you can find an overview of care providers who have expertise on chemsex, bare sex, crystal meth and slamming. A safe haven where you can go without being judged. Talking in person about chemsex is possible every other week at Mainline and during special consultation hours at GGD Amsterdam. Meanwhile, chemsex meetings have also been set up in Rotterdam and The Hague.


 see www.sexntina.nl
 



 







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In the New Issue of Gay News, 326, October 2018

















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