Posted on Monday 11 August 2014
One of the 'slamming kits'
A sexual health clinic in south London has become the first in the UK to provide safety kits for men taking part in the growing trend of ‘chemsex’.
Burrell Street, in Southwark, is giving out kits containing clean, colour-coded needles and is offering counselling and psychotherapy services to men taking part in ‘chemsex’, also known as ‘slamming’.
The trend involves men having sex with men while injecting drugs such as crystal meth. This often takes place at parties where more than one sexual partner is shared.
Since their launch in December 2013, Burrell Street, the only sexual health centre in London to open seven-days-a-week, has given out more than 120 kits.
Robert Palmer, lead advisor and specialist psychotherapist at Burrell Street, says: “Our slamming kits are by no means designed to encourage men to take part in this trend. They’re to ensure that if men are choosing to inject, that they are looking after themselves and doing it safely.
“The kits contain colour-coded needles so each user can easily see which is theirs, lessening the chance of using someone else’s. They also include syringes for the use of GBL, another drug popular with slamming, to reduce the possibility of overdose by allowing users to know how much they’re taking.
“We hope that by offering the kits for collection from Burrell Street, we will encourage these men to use our other sexual health and counselling services at the same time.”
A recent report found that men are suffering serious harm and are in danger of spreading HIV by having unprotected sex with other men while under the influence of illegal drugs.
Burrell Street, which is run by Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, is offering the free ‘slamming kits’ in a handy pack that can be returned to the clinic to be safely disposed of.
Professor Jane Anderson, HIV and sexual health lead at Public Health England, says: “We know some men who have sex with men are using new drugs in ways that are putting them at risk of HIV and other serious infections. Although ‘chemsex’ is limited to relatively small numbers of people, it’s something we are taking seriously.
“Burrell Street is setting a great example by providing service users with the right health promotion and harm reduction information. The new ‘slamming kits’ reflect the innovative thinking needed here.”
For more information about slamming visit: www.burrellstreet.co.uk/slamming.