Chemsex Practices and Health-Related Quality of Life in Spanish Men with HIV Who Have Sex with Men

J Clin Med. 2021 Apr 13;10(8):1662. doi: 10.3390/jcm10081662.


Chemsex, a new risky sexual behavior involving participation in sexual relations under the influence of drugs, has shown a significantly increased prevalence in recent years. This fact entails a serious public health issue, especially when Chemsex is practiced by individuals with an HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) diagnosis. Hence, analyzing the characteristics of Chemsex practices, associated sexual practices and the health outcomes of individuals who participate in Chemsex, is extremely important. The main aim of the present study is to analyze the prevalence and characteristics of the practice of Chemsex in a sample of 101 men with HIV who have sex with men who attended the Department of Infectious Diseases of the General University Hospital of Alicante (Spain). Furthermore, the association between Chemsex and Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) was also assessed. Chemsex and sexual practices were evaluated by employing a questionnaire applied on an ad hoc basis. HRQoL was assessed by employing the Medical Outcomes Study HIV Health Survey (MOS-HIV). In total, 40.6% of the participants had practiced Chemsex during the last year. When sexual practices were compared between those individuals who practiced Chemsex and those who did not, the former presented a higher level of risky sexual behaviors, especially with occasional and multiple sexual partners. Regarding HRQoL, those individuals who practiced Chemsex exhibited a poorer HRQoL in the majority of domains, especially those participants who practiced it with a higher intensity. The present study points out the high prevalence of Chemsex practice between men with HIV who have sex with men in Spain. Moreover, this study highlights the negative effects of Chemsex on HRQoL, probably due to the mixed effects of higher levels of risky sexual practices and the consequences of drug consumption.

Keywords: Chemsex; HIV; health-related quality of life; men who have sex with men.