Mainline @ the European Chemsex Forum

Chemsex is defined by the use of specific drugs – ‘chems’ – in a sexual context. For most gay men, chemsex is something to enjoy on occasion. But for a small group, chemsex becomes problematic: substance use can spin out of control and sexuality becomes strongly linked with a specific scene. Health care providers across Europe struggle to offer the appropriate support to these men. 

The 2nd European Chemsex forum took place in Berlin, Germany between 22 March and 24 March 2018 and aimed to provide concrete, multidisciplinary and strategic resources to chemsex responders. 

Mainline's chemsex team made an important contribution to the programme. We have been at the front line, pioneering harm reduction for men in the chemsex scene in the Netherlands.

Effective responses

Mainline’s Leon Knoops opened the conference with a key note entitled: 'We want effective responses to problematic Chemsex'. In his talk, he wonders what problematic drug use during sex actually is. Importantly, he asks how we can decrease the stigma surrounding gay sex, drug use, HIV and bare sex. Answers to these questions can lead to a more effective response. In addition, Ingrid Bakker provided a workshop about building multi-sectoral response teams. This was done in collaboration with AIDES (Paris, France) who presented their work in the form of a case study. 

Read more about our work on chemsex in the Netherlands and visit our website

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