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“To help gay men quit chemsex, you have to be able to support them to accept their sexuality and HIV-positive status, and help them build positive relationships with others.” Although there are obvious psychological forces at play – certainly in terms of addictions – the use of illicit drugs means chemsex falls under the remit of the Narcotics Division of the Security Bureau.
A spokesman for the Narcotics Division says the Hong Kong government has adopted a “five-pronged strategy” to deal with drug abuse – preventive education and publicity, treatment and rehabilitation, legislation and law enforcement, external cooperation, and research.
“Stress, both in the gay community and outside of it. I felt like I could be who I was and not worry about what anyone else thought about me.” Chau Chun-yam has assisted the gay community in his role as a social worker with The Boys’ & Girls’ Club Association of Hong Kong for the past 10 years.
The gay community in Hong Kong is obsessed with being masculine, and fit, and they reject those who are a little bit sissy, obese or even overweight. Two years ago the NGO reacted to a rise in drug addiction among gay men by starting a prevention and treatment programme.
“We try to increase the motivation for change,” says Chau.
“We try to set up face-to-face counselling, try to support clients by finding out what kind of function the drugs provide for them and advise them on how they can restructure their lives.
They have a strong sense of isolation and shame about their sexuality.
Hence the request to use “Jack” rather than his real name.“There needs to be strong motivation for change,” says Chau.“But people need also to know that there are people willing to give them the support they need.” For the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. He has seen an increase in the number of gay men reaching out for help with the associated problems, and also with the desires that make chemsex an attraction in the first place.“The rise in the number of gay men using drugs during sex was really first noticed in 2010,” says Chau.
It’s not a healthy way but it’s a substitute for the intimacy and acceptance they really want.” Chau adds: “Chemsex is an artificial way of connecting with people.