The link between high sex and HIV

Being under the influence of drugs in order to enhance sexual pleasure is something that may have been happening for a long time, but it’s really being discussed more these days. Taking drugs for sexual enhancement is known as “high sex” or “chemsex” and it increases your risk of HIV.  Here’s more about it. 

What is “high” sex? 

“High” sex occurs when people take drugs (especially at parties) before sex in order to make the experience better or last longer. 

Although “high sex” is most common amongst MSM (Men who have Sex with other Men), according to what’s been in the news lately, it doesn’t mean that ‘straight’ (heterosexual) people don’t engage in it too. 

Why is it dangerous? 

First off Choma, I don’t have to tell you that using drugs for any reason is dangerous for your health. Drugs are addictive and can affect the way you think, your physical health and your ability to lead a normal life (once you’re addicted). Because drugs impair your thinking, using it during sex means that there is more room for reckless behaviour. For one, you might be less likely to use a condom when you’re high on drugs than when you’re sober. If you’re taking drugs with someone and you’re sharing needles, then you’re also increasing your risk of HIV infection. 

Using substances like drugs to “enhance sex” doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have better sexual experiences. If you’re having trouble feeling aroused, experiencing pleasure or maintaining an erection (for men) during sex, then the best thing to do is speak to a healthcare practitioner. Sex in general should be pleasurable, and if it isn’t then you should seek medical help or reevaluate the reasons you’re having sex (and maybe the person you’re having it with). Don’t listen to anyone who pressures you into having sex and using substances – the emotional, mental and physical risks are just not worth it. 

How to reduce the risks of HIV transmission

  • Knowing your status because a lot of HIV transmissions happen when a recently infected person is unaware of their status, and they continue engaging in unprotected sex. If you or your partner are not sure of your status, then get tested for HIV and other STIs. 
  • Whether you’re in a relationship or not, don’t engage in risky sex – like substance abuse or sex without a condom. Always have condoms with you and don’t have sex with someone who makes excuses for not using them.
  • If you have more than one sexual partner, then you’re at a higher of getting infected with STIs. Being in a monogamous relationship definitely decreases your risk for sex for HIV. If you have more than one partner, don’t have unsafe sex with any of them. 

You have to remember Choma, having sex can be an “out of body” experience naturally as it should be. Using drugs to enjoy sex doesn’t only increase your chances of getting infected with HIV, but you might end up with a drug addiction too. For more information about substance abuse, read these articles:

4 surprising results of drug and alcohol abuse

Identifying substance abuse

Overcoming a drug addiction 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help Chomas, if you think you have a problem or need help, talk to trained counsellors anonymously on: Narcotics Anonymous (083 900 6962) or you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).