Online consulting for gay drug addicts emerged

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Two leading charities have launched an online counselling service for gay and bi men concerning the problem of sexual health, drug addiction and alcoholism. Terrence Higgins Trust and London Friend launched the new service via Friday/Monday, a website to inform MSM about such issues, providing one-to-one online support. Praising the move, James – a gay man who has struggled with chemsex in the past – explained how drugs affected on him at work, everyday life and even sexual activity. “I’d only experimented with drugs occasionally though my early 20s, but when I was 27 I was diagnosed with HIV, and after that I didn’t have sex or take drugs for three years. When I was eventually ready to meet people again, the way people were meeting had changed; apps made it easy to meet people and more people were taking drugs,” the man shares, “I’ve always tried to play it as safe as possible, but last summer it went apocalyptic. I went to a party, which I don’t like doing, and I felt really anxious. I took drugs there and ended up having an anxiety attack. From there I was taking drugs every weekend. I’d meet people in groups and it would go on for days. Drugs would help me relax, but they also gave me an artificial sense of confidence which could be harmful. I had more STIs more frequently and I knew I could do a better job at work if I’d been more alert and healthy.” Now he says that all such people need support, they need to know that they are not alone in it. And providing such a support online makes it easier because it can be done regardless of time, place and surrounding. The new online services will be delivered by video chat software Zoom, via the Friday/Monday website. People will be able to see their counsellor on the screen, or up to 10 people in a support group, while they talk through their issues around drugs or alcohol.

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