Chemsex101: Everything You Wanted to Know (But Didn’t Know Who to Ask)


This toolkit is tailored towards harm reduction organizations and syringe service programs and seeks to provide an introduction to PnP. It should be noted that in this toolkit, the term chemsex is used rather than PnP, however, the terms are interchangeable. Broadly, the toolkit reflects on communities impacted and range of use, different substances involved and how to use them safely, peer- and harm reduction-based education approaches, and the significance of queer geosocial dating and hook-up apps such as Grindr and Scruff for chemsex.

The toolkit opens by overviewing chemsex, using a sex-positive and non-judgemental lens to describe community manifestations, motivations for use and specific populations impacted by chemsex most greatly. In the next section, range of use and substances involved are overviewed. A significant strength of this section is that while discussing the magnitude of effects and dosage pathways, the authors also create space to discuss the benefits, drawbacks and tips for safer use of crystal, MDMA, Alkyl Nitrates (Poppers), Ketamine, GHB/GBL and Mephedrone. Moving forward, the toolkit concentrates on service provision, outlining best practices for designing and implementing a variety of support service options for MSM and sex workers who engage in chemsex.

A standout in this section is the recognition that chemsex-related programs should be peer led, community specific and grounded in harm reduction, highlighting the significance of lived-experience and cultural competence for relevant care. Finally, the toolkit overviews some harm reduction strategies, where tips and techniques for safer use are discussed in general, and in the context of injection drug use (IDU) and smoking.

In connection, as appendices, the toolkit includes a menu of kits that harm reduction programs can put together, including a glossary of common terms used in the context of chemsex, and a guide to chemsex party planning. Overall, this toolkit serves as a solid introduction to chemsex for service providers and provides practical party planning resources that could be shared with community members to support harm reduction. See below for more information on chemsex and harm reduction from AIDS United.

AIDS United (n.d.). Chemsex 101: Everything You Wanted to Know (But Didn’t Know Who to Ask). AIDS United.

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