Prevalence of recreational drug use reported by men who have sex with men attending sexual health clinics in Manchester, UK

A. Tomkins*, S. Ahmad, L. Cannon, S. P. Higgins, M. Kliner, A. Kolyva, C. Ward, Roberto Vivancos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Recreational drug use (RDU) has been reported to be disproportionately higher in men who have sex with men (MSM) when compared to their heterosexual counterparts. To identify RDU, links to risky sexual practices and infections for MSM attending three sexual health clinics across Manchester, United Kingdom, a retrospective case note review was conducted using a random powered sample of service users attending three sites during 2014. Three hundred and fifty-seven case notes were reviewed across three sites. Eighteen per cent of service users reported any type of RDU. Use of at least one of the three drugs associated with chemsex (crystal methamphetamine, mephedrone, gamma hydroxybutyrate/gamma butyrolactone) was reported by 3.6%. A statistically significant difference was identified between non-drug users and any-drug users reporting: group sex (odds ratio [OR] 5.88, p = 0.013), condomless receptive anal intercourse (CRAI) (OR 2.77, p = 0.003) and condomless oral intercourse (OR 2.52, p = 0.016). A statistically significant difference was identified between chemsex-related drug user and non-drug user groups reporting: group sex (OR 13.05, p = 0.023), CRAI (OR 3.69, p = 0.029) and condomless insertive anal intercourse (OR 1.27, p = 0.039). There was also a statistically higher incidence of gonorrhoea infection in chemsex-related drug use compared with those not using drugs (p = 0.002, OR 6.88). This study identifies that substance use is common in MSM attending sexual health clinics in Manchester. High-risk sexual practices and certain sexually transmitted infections are more common in MSM reporting RDU.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-356
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of STD and AIDS
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and Public Health England/BASHH Fellowship, Manchester, UK 2University Hospital of South Manchester, Manchester, UK 3Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Manchester, UK 4Public Health England North West, Manchester, UK 5Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK 6National Infection Service, Public Health England, London, UK 7University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

Funding Information:
We would like to thank clinical staff at Central Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust and University Hospital South Manchester for their assistance in collecting the data for this report.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017.


  • Epidemiology
  • drug use
  • high-risk behaviour
  • homosexual
  • sexual behaviour
  • sexually transmitted infections


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