Chemsex and care-planning: One year in practice
Stuart D., Weymann J.
Nurses and clinicians working in HIV have a long, proud tradition of working creatively with a challenging and constantly changing epidemic. In the late 1970s, nurses were as much activists as they were healthcare providers, providing care for a panicked and stigmatised population of terminally ill patients, and it is with this pedigree that we now support a new population with (again) a challenging, stigmatised and poorly understood pattern of behaviours. Additionally, and as a direct result of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, gay men have formed uniquely fond relationships with GUM clinics, many of them able to name a preferred clinic and even a favoured worker within a clinic. Gay men struggling with ChemSex (consciously or otherwise) have demonstrated a preference to discuss their complex sex lives with us, the GUM/HIV sector, over a heroin-entrenched substance misuse sector. It is a joy and privilege to have this population’s trust, and I’ve no doubt we’re up to the job of guiding our patients through this challenging syndemic toward healthier and happier sexual wellbeing.