NAT calls for urgent action from London Councils to address drug use amongst gay men.
NAT (National AIDS Trust) today publishes a letter written to the London Councils, calling for effective action to address a recent and rapid rise in the use of crystal meth, mephedrone and GHB/GBL on the London gay scene.
This call for action results from a roundtable on HIV and Injecting Drug Use organised by NAT in January 2013, where the scale of the current problem became very clear.
Drawing on evidence from Antidote (the one LGBT drug support service in the capital) and from the Club Drug Clinic and the clinic at 56 Dean Street, NAT's letter draws attention to the massive increase in the use of these drugs by gay men in the context of high risk sex.
There are high rates of injecting (Antidote cites 80%, the Club Drug Clinic 55%, amongst relevant service users) and of sharing needles, with serious risks of HIV and hepatitis C infection. Most drug services are not able to respond appropriately to gay men's drug use and the three tailored services which are available cannot meet demand.
Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT, said, “HIV prevention services for gay men in London have failed to effectively address this issue. They have been too slow to respond to the fast changing trends in drug use on the gay scene.
“We are calling on the London Councils as they take on their new responsibility for commissioning both sexual health and drug services in London to meet this challenge and commission integrated sexual health and drugs services tailored specifically for gay men. This is essential if we are going to reduce the high rates of HIV and STI transmission.”
Notes to the editor:
For further information please contact:
Suzi Price, communications manager, NAT, 020 7814 6733, firstname.lastname@example.org
NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expertise and practical resources. We champion the rights of people living with HIV and campaign for change. www.nat.org.uk
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