An introduction to working with ChemSex









The use of drugs associated with sex by gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men ( “ChemSex”) is becoming recognised as an increasing concern; with HIV and Hepatitis C infections rising, and increasing numbers of men seeking help with issues around sexual well-being and drug use.

It can also be a challenging issue for staff; including substance misuse and sexual health workers. This training aims to offer understanding around the motivations, behaviour, and context of use; and the nature of online “hooking-up” sites to find sex partners; ‘ChemSex’ parties and the inherent ambivalence associated with drug use.

Challenges these clients may have around Sober Sex trends toward condom-less sex and normalised drug use within the gay communities (and online).

The half day course will raise awareness of the harms; give understanding around appropriate referral pathways and explore interventions/therapeutic techniques; as well as exploring elements of safer sex/drug use that can sometimes be beyond the normal scope of our experience and training.

The course is delivered by an experienced substance misuse practitioner with a specialist background in the use of new and emerging drugs and needle exchange/harm reduction. The trainer has also spent time and trained with London based services that specialize in MSM drug use and ‘ChemSex’.

Learning Outcomes include:

  • An overview of MSM sexual health
  • An overview of the drugs used
  • Greater awareness of the motivations, trends and context
  • An understanding of the referral pathways
  • Addressing the challenges, stigma and prejudices we may experience when working with this client group
  • Developing a confidence to work effectively with these clients, toward better sexual well-being.



AA6 Promote choice, wellbeing and the protection of all individuals

AB2 Support individuals who are substance users

AB4 Contribute to the protection of individuals from harm and abuse

AB5 Assess and act upon immediate risk of danger to substance users


Core 6: Equality and Diversity level 3

HWB4: Enablement to address health and wellbeing needs level 2

HWB3: Protection of health and wellbeing level 1 & level 2