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Last week, New Zealand’s first open mic night about gay sex and drugs was held in Auckland. For the first time, gay men were encouraged to talk openly about their experiences with chemsex, a trend which is thought to be increasingly common – but which can expose participants to increased risk from HIV, STIs and drug-related harm.
The event, which was organised by Body Positive and was modelled on a similar night from London, was attended by about 30 people.
The panel event provided gay men with a rare opportunity to talk about the growing culture of “party/puff and play”, chillouts, and “high and horny” without stigma or shame.
Body Positive Managing Director Mark Fisher spoke about the growing popularity of “chemsex” and played videos from the Gay Star News. Others got up and shared their experiences with chemsex throughout the evening.
One of the first speakers was 24 years old and was living with and controlled by his drug dealer. He felt trapped and attempted suicide, but managed to get out of the situation. Now he feels it’s important to share his story, so it may help others.
Another person spoke about how they had recently come to terms with being gay, encountered the chemsex scene and enjoyed it. They wanted to know how to identify when it was becoming a problem and advice was provided from the audience. Mark said the person got in touch with him two days after the event.
“He said that on deliberation he had disposed of all his P and Gear as he recognised his usage had gone up in the past 3 months and was tending toward being a problem,” said Mark.
Mark introduced the New Zealand Drug Foundation’s model drug law Whakawātea te Huarahi and copies were available on the night.
Similar events are planned in future with more expert speakers and storytelling.
‘Let’s talk about gay sex and drugs’ is a monthly open mic night that began in London. Read about it in the Gay Star News.