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Chemsex panel provides interesting insights

Last month the WA AIDS Council hosted two screenings of the controversial film 'Chemsex' at the Backlot Cinema, West Perth. “Chemsex” is used in the United Kingdom to describe intentional sex under the influence of psychoactive drugs, mostly among men who have sex with men.

The first screening was for invited guests who work in this field, followed by a panel discussion. The second screening was for members of the wider LGBTI+ community. Both screenings were very well attended, with representatives from the Mental Health Commission, Hepatitis WA and Royal Perth Hospital in attendance.

This was the first screening of the film in Perth, following similar screenings of the film with panel discussions that have occurred in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.

Panellists for the evening included Garry Kuchel (Registered Nurse, M Clinic), Justin Dorigo (Clinical Nurse Specialist, DAWN) and Dr. Kevin O’Connor (HIV Neurologist, Fiona Stanley Hospital). The panel were unanimous in their view that this is a very complex issue facing the gay community and that what they saw in the documentary is mirrored here in Perth and causing a range of serious problems for individuals.

The ‘integrated service and treatment’ approach, which was illustrated in the film by the 56 Dean St Clinic in London, is considered to be the world’s best for those needing support with methamphetamine use. With funding a similar model could potentially be replicated here in Australia.

The website touchbase.org and ‘Turning Tina’ from The Institute of Many (TIM) are excellent resources for those that would like further information or support.

The WA AIDS Council would like to thank each of the panellists for their contributions on the evening, Ian from Backlot Cinema and our guests that attended the event.

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