The gay scene is largely based around pubs and clubs, and so it's not surprising that alcohol and drugs play a large part in many gay men's lives. In fact over 90% of us drink alcohol [1]. It can make you feel more relaxed, more sociable and loosen your inhibitions. Drug use can do the same and can help you to forget the working week, or alter the way you're feeling. Nearly 20% of us have used drugs such as ecstasy and cocaine in the last year, and about 40% have used poppers. A lot of us use more than one type of drug [1]. In fact, we're around ten times more likely to use some recreational drugs than the general population [2].

You may find that when you are drunk or off your face, you do things you would not do when you are sober. This could include things like telling yourself that it's OK to have unprotected sex with someone 'just this once'.

Limiting the amount of drugs and alcohol you take can be easier said than done. The effects of drugs and alcohol depend on many things, like the amount of food you've eaten or the general mood you are in before taking them. However, if you know your limits and try to stick to them you are less likely to regret your actions or any decisions that you make whilst under the influence.

It's important to be informed about the drugs you take. Some drugs not only affect the way you think, they can also increase the risk of HIV transmission. This section will give you more information about what the drugs that are mostly used on the gay scene do and how they affect your chances of getting HIV. Click on the drug names on the left menu to get information on the particular drug.

Please note that, even though we have attempted to provide as much information as possible about the potential effects of drugs, there are gaps in the scientific studies into this, especially around combining drugs with each other and with alcohol. Although some of the information presented in our pages comes from reliable sources including drug experts, some of it is anecdotal based on reports of experienced users. Each person will respond differently to different drugs and drug combinations.

This section has been based on expert information provided to us by London Friend. London Friend has also partnered up with Chelsea and Westminster Hospital to set up the Club Drug Clinic which aims to help people who have begun to experience problems with their use of recreational drugs.




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1 Hickson F, Weatherburn P, Reid D, Jessup K, Hammond G. Consuming passions: findings from the United Kingdom Gay Men's Sex Survey 2005. Sigma Research, 2007.
2 Home Office. Drug misuse declared: findings from the 2009/10 British Crime Survey. Home Office Statistical Bulletin, July 2010.