OUT is taking part in a study to better understand the link between drug use and sexual risk-taking patterns that increase vulnerability to HIV infection. They’re looking for you to play a part. Your participation in this initiative will go a long way to ensure that effective HIV prevention initiatives are devised and implemented for individuals such as yourself.
Take a look at the following scenario:
It has been a long week. Nick is relieved that Friday has finally arrived. He is planning on having a great night out. Nick makes a call and arranges to meet his two best friends at the club. There is a lot of excitement in the air. On the way to the club, Nick fantasises over meeting a cute guy and shagging his brains out. But first he needs to find his contact. Once at the club he enquires about a particular dealer. After about an hour he eventually tracks down the dealer and scores himself some ‘good stuff’. Nick and his friends retreat to the bathroom where they share the ‘load’. The music in the club starts to course through his veins. He is feeling free and exhilarated. He goes back to the bathroom for another ‘hit’. On top of the world, he spots Andrew across the dance floor. Andrew looks gorgeous. Their eyes connect. They want each other. They decide to go back to Andrew’s place. On the way there, Nick indulges in some more of the ‘feel good stuff’. They get to Andrew’s place and start kissing passionately. They are in the moment. The heat is on. Nick groans in Andrew’ ear: “Fuck me!” Andrew is more than happy to oblige. The rhythmic sensation is incredible and Nick begs Andrew to come inside him. He does. As they lie there, Nick is completely consumed in the moment. They go at it again. Hours later, Nick sneaks out while Andrew is fast asleep.
Does this scenario sound all too familiar? Do you recognize yourself here? Or do you recognise a good friend of yours? If you have said yes to any of these questions, you’re not alone. You have something in common with so many other gay men, just out to have a good time. For some, there is such pleasure to be had in ‘tripping’ and having sex. But the tragic thing is that for some guys this good time ends abruptly when they discover they are HIV positive.
The relationship between drug abuse and risky sexual behaviour has been well established. People who are ‘under the influence’ of a particular mind altering substance are more likely to feel disinhibited, less likely to feel vulnerable about being at risk, and tend to be so consumed in the moment that all reason goes out the window. Given these reactions, there is now an international move to explore the direct and indirect role of drug abuse in the transmission of HIV.
OUT Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Wellbeing is a progressive organisation working towards ensuring the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people by providing direct mental and sexual health services; conducting research; and implementing a variety of mainstreaming and advocacy programmes. OUT has joined up with the Medical Research Council and the Centre for Disease Control in order to better understand the link between drug use and sexual risk-taking patterns that increase vulnerability to HIV infection. OUT is calling for six men to participate in a focus group to be held at the end of June. Ideally you should fit the following profile:
- Be above 18 years of age;
- Consider yourself as either gay, as a man who has sex with men, as bisexual or as transgender;
- You are not a full-time sex worker, but may occasionally engage in transactional sex;
- You are a regular club-going individual who uses recreational drugs for pleasure; and
- You have engaged in risky sex (that is unprotected sex) while under the influence.
How can you help?
If you fit the above mentioned profile, you can begin by volunteering some of your valuable time for this important study. Your participation in this initiative will go a long way to ensure that effective HIV prevention initiatives are devised and implemented for individuals such as yourself.
Who should you contact?
You can contact Jacques Livingston, the Sexual Health Manager at OUT, either by calling him on 012-344-5108 or by e-mailing him at email@example.com. Please do so before the end of May. Should you have any other queries about HIV, STIs, or any related sexual health issues feel free to call the OUT helpline on 012-344-6500.