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CHEM FUN (CF)

Substance use is on the rise in our community, especially for recreational purposes. Some may use recreational drugs to heighten pleasure during sex. This practice is most commonly called chem fun (CF). Other people may call it by different names, such as ‘chem sex,’ ‘chem,’ ‘party and play,’ or ‘high fun’.

The drugs that are commonly used for chem fun include meth (‘ice, Tina, Elsa’), Ecstasy and GHB (‘G water’), but other drugs such as cocaine, marijuana and poppers can also be used.

The use of recreational drugs is illegal by law, and while you’re strongly discouraged to do so, we encourage you to prepare yourself before you become intoxicated and your judgment is compromised. If you engage in chem fun, please ensure that you do so responsibly.

Being high when having sex impairs your judgment and can potentially lead you to engage in extremely risky sexual behaviours, or to forget to use protection. Always remember to be aware of your surroundings, and keep condoms and lube in a place that’s visible and easily accessible for everyone.

 

CF AND YOUR HEALTH

If you regularly take part in chem fun, we strongly recommend that you plan STI check-ups every 1 to 3 months. STIs are very easy to catch, and having an untreated STI can increase your risk of being infected by HIV.

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We recognise that for some people, skipping condom use might be a decision that will be made when you’re under the influence. We strongly encourage that you are at least taking PrEP, which reduces the risk of contracting HIV by 92% when having anal sex. Take note that while PrEP protects you from HIV, it does not protect you from STIs. Read more on PrEP here, or use our Clinic Finder to see where you can get PrEP.

If you suspect that you may have been exposed to HIV through bareback sex, you can cut down the risk of contracting HIV by going on PEP. As PEP only works when it is started within 72 hours after exposure, it’s important that you consult a healthcare provider about PEP immediately after a suspected exposure. Read more on PEP here

If you inject drugs (‘slamming’), never share drug use equipment such as syringes, needles and other sharp objects with anyone else. HIV can survive in used syringes and needles for up to 42 days, and reusing them puts you at high risk of infection. Always bring and use your own equipment. Also, consider going on PrEP, as it reduces the risk of contracting HIV through slamming by up to 70%.

The Ministry of Health and Malaysian AIDS Council has a needle exchange programme, where you can find help and advice on exchanging used needles for new ones, disposing used equipment, and safer sex practices. Find more info about the programme here.

Keep some protection with you for when you need it. Stock up on the Take Charge Fun Pack, which contains everything you need for those spur-of-the-moment sessions. To purchase, get in touch with a PrEP Point advocate.

QUITTING DRUG USE

We understand that simply quitting drugs is not easy – that’s why taking your own initiative is very important. Help is always available – medical treatment and therapy for substance abuse is available from government and private healthcare services. If you’d prefer to manage it on your own, a wealth of online resources for managing use responsibly is available.

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The journey to sobriety is not easy, but you don’t have to go through it on your own. In Malaysia, support, counselling and rehabilitation services are available from the following providers:

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Malaysia

Website

National Anti-Drugs Agency (AADK) rehabilitation clinics and centres:

Cure & Care Clinics

Cure & Care Rehabilitation Centres (CCRC)

Cure & Care Service Centres

Ministry of Health (MOH) methadone clinics and treatment centres

Directory

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Malaysia

T: +60 16 670 1595

Website

Befrienders Kuala Lumpur

T: +60 3 7956 8145

Website

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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How can I reduce the risk of getting HIV through drug use?

You should always use your own drug use equipment, and don’t share it when anyone else. Most importantly, do not share syringes, needles, or other sharp objects to avoid blood contamination. Handle and dispose of sharp objects properly if using them.

When having chem fun, always be aware of your situation and surroundings. Keep a stash of condoms and lube in a visible and easily accessible place, and insist on using them when having sex, regardless if you’re a top, bottom or versatile.

If you do not use condoms when taking part in CF, consider going on PrEP. A course of daily PrEP reduces your risk of HIV infection through sex by up to 92%. PrEP On Demand, taken only when you know you’ll be having sex, can also reduce this risk. Click here to read more about PrEP

How do I use recreational drugs or take part in CF responsibly?

When using recreational drugs or taking part in CF, take these steps to protect yourself and others during the session.

  • Know your tolerance for each drug you’re using, and do not exceed it. If you’re unsure, take it slow and stop immediately if you feel uncomfortable.
  • Do not mix drugs with alcohol and other recreational drugs, as this may cause overdose or potentially fatal side effects.
  • When taking part in CF, be wary of what’s going on in your surroundings, or make sure that you’re doing it with a partner whom you can trust to look after everyone’s safety.
  • In case of a medical emergency such as a suspected overdose, call an ambulance at 999 immediately. If the person is conscious, immediately contact a trusted person who can assist in getting to a hospital for emergency treatment.
How long can a CF session go on for?

Try to limit each session to less than 8-9 hours. Long sessions can wear your body out, as well as causing micro-injuries to your genitals and anus, which can heighten the risk of contracting HIV and STIs. Remember to take breaks from the action, even if you don’t feel tired.

I only use drugs when I have sex – is that okay?

The use of recreational drugs during sex may cause you to become dependent on them, and you may eventually find that you are unable to function sexually without them.

Being under the influence of recreational drugs while having sex may lead you to skip protection, thereby exposing you to HIV and STIs. Always keep condoms and lube in an easily accessible space, and use them.

If I have other health conditions, will recreational drug use affect them?

Recreational drug use can make any pre-existing health conditions worse. When in doubt, consult a medical professional or find one near you using our Clinic Finder.

Do recreational drugs interact with medication for other conditions?

Mixing recreational drugs with prescription medication can cause a wide range of extremely dangerous or even fatal interactions. When in doubt, refer to the prescription information leaflet, consult a medical professional, or find one near you using our Clinic Finder.

I'm currently taking HAART/PrEP/PEP. Will recreational drugs interact with my medication?

In research, HAART, PrEP and PEP have been shown not to interact with the use of recreational drugs. However, do bear in mind that being under the influence of recreational drugs may cause you to miss your scheduled doses, affecting your adherence and decreasing the effectiveness of your treatment.

I’m currently taking medication for high blood pressure (hypertension). Will recreational drugs interact with them?

Medication for hypertension works by reducing blood pressure. The use of recreational drugscan counter this effect by increasing blood pressure and heart rate, potentially leading to dangerous hypertension-related fatalities such as cardiac arrest or stroke. When in doubt, refer to the prescription information leaflet, consult a medical professional, or find one near you using our Clinic Finder.

Can I mix recreational drugs with Viagra or Cialis?

The use of medication for erectile dysfunction such as sildenafil (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis) is increasingly common during CF sessions. Combined with the use of recreational drugs, this may cause fatal side effects such as cardiac arrest.

I’ve noticed that my recreational drug use has increased. What should I do?

Well done for noticing the increasing pattern of your drug usage, and wanting to do something about it. 

Regular and prolonged use of recreational drugs can lead to a state of dependency and denial. This could be contributed by peer pressure, or the recurring urges from a developing addiction.

It’s recommended that you keep track of your recreational drug consumption using a log. If you notice a pattern of increasingly frequent use, that is a sign of a developing addiction. Help is available – your first point of help should be a drug counselling service or support group.

I experience withdrawal symptoms whenever I don’t use recreational drugs. What do I do?

Withdrawal symptoms are normal when you stop using drugs, even if it’s for a short while. Anticipating what your symptoms might be will help you ease them.

After a CF session, take time to relax your mind and body. Detoxify your body by engaging in healthy activities such as exercise, and eat nutritiously and keep yourself hydrated.

Don’t be tempted to ease the withdrawal by using more drugs – it will only help you for a short while before you start withdrawing again.

I only use poppers during sex. Are they safe?

While poppers are not addictive, using them during sex presents some health dangers. 

The chemicals used in them give you the immediate ‘rush’ by causing blood vessels in the body to expand. When this happens, your heart rate and blood flow increases while your blood pressure decreases. 

Some people may experience lightheadedness, nausea, fainting, or dizziness as a result of inhaling poppers, and others may experience severe headaches after using them. Frequent or long-term use may result in damage to the brain, eyes, lungs, and skin around the area exposed to the fumes.

Do not swallow poppers, as the chemicals are extremely toxic. You must also never use poppers if you are taking medications that affect your blood pressure, such as those for hypertension or erectile dysfunction, as they can interact to produce dangerous side effects.

I’ve been invited to participate in a CF session for the first time. Should I do it?

Chem fun is an activity that puts you at a high risk of exposure to HIV and STIs, and can also lead you to develop an addiction to drugs. In turn, this may cause various short- and long-term repercussions to your physical and mental health. As much as you can, you should try to avoid participating in CF sessions.

I am a top, and I can’t stay hard when I use condoms during CF sessions. What should I do?

Some people may find that it’s difficult for them to use condoms during CF sessions, as the decreased sensation takes away from the ‘raw’ feeling of fucking while high. However, remember that condoms are the only way to protect yourself from STIs, so it’s highly advised that you use them.

To protect yourself from HIV exposure, consider going on PrEP, which reduces the risk of being infected by up to 92%.

Me and my partner(s) are on PrEP, and we want to have a bareback CF session. Can we?

It’s great that you and your partners are taking charge of your health by being on PrEP! Just bear in mind that PrEP does not protect you from STIs, so you should make sure that you and your partners are STI-free too. If in doubt, insist on using condoms.

Does PrEP protect me from HIV if I slam?

Yes. Apart from protecting you from exposure through sex, PrEP also provides protection against HIV through intravenous exposure such as slamming with contaminated needles.

However, take note that slamming presents a higher risk of potential HIV infection as compared to sexual contact. While PrEP is proven to protect from HIV exposure through slamming, it is about 70% effective in doing so.

If you slam, it’s best to do so using sterile needles and to never share them with anyone else.

Is slamming safe if we don’t share needles?

Even if you don’t share needles when you slam, it is not advised due to the potential of overdosing. Avoid it when you can, and always remember to bring your own equipment.

How long does a comedown last, and what should I do?

How long a comedown lasts depends on the amount of drugs taken and the person’s physiology – it could last between 2-7 days, or longer.

You should try your best to ride a comedown naturally without using anymore substances, or using pharmaceutical aids such as sleeping pills. Take the time to let your body recover by detoxing, eating healthily, keeping hydrated, and getting enough rest and relaxation.

I experience anxiety when I come down from drugs. What should I do?

Experiencing anxiety during a comedown can feel terrible, but it is a normal part of the process as your brain rebalanced its chemistry.

When coming down, take time to wind your body and mind down by relaxing. Take note of how long and severe the feelings of anxiety are. If they last beyond the comedown period or causes you to experience physical side effects, consult a medical professional.

What are the long-term effects of drug use?

The use of recreational drugs has a variety of long-term side effects. 

Regular drug use can result in permanent damage to your body’s organs, such as your heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. Your body can also build tolerance to the drugs that you consume, causing you to use more to achieve the same high. Long-term drug use has also been clearly linked to persistent psychological distress and mood disorders such as depression, anxiety and paranoia.

A medical professional can help you better understand the long-term impact of drug use to your body – consult one you can trust, or use our Clinic Finder to find one near you.

I’m not on PrEP yet. Is there a temporary protective measure against HIV I can take if I know I’ll be having bareback sex?

A course of PrEP On Demand, started between 2 to 24 hours before sex, can help to reduce your risk. Read more about it here.

I think I’ve been exposed to HIV, but I’m not sure about my sexual partner’s status. What should I do?

If you think you may have been exposed, don’t worry – a course of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) taken within 72 hours of exposure can reduce your risk of being infected with HIV. Read more about it here.

I want to quit using drugs – what do I do?

Quitting drugs is not something easy to do, both physically and mentally. But there’s always help.

A discussion with your doctor or a community clinic about treatment substance use disorder should always be the first thing on your list. Each person responds to drugs differently, and it’s important that you have an action plan that is tailored for your situation. Seek a doctor you trust, or use our Clinic Finder to find a doctor or counselling service near you.

I’ve stopped using recreational drugs, but I still get the urge every now and then. What do I do?

Experiencing cravings is a normal part of the substance abuse recovery process. They can come when you least expect them, or when you experience a weak point, and will try to convince you to slip back into your old habits and undo all the progress you have made in stopping drug use.

The following steps can help you in handling an urge when it comes:

  • Resist the urge by reasoning with yourself. Remind yourself of the reasons you chose to quit, and take time to see the bigger picture of your situation
  • Distract yourself by taking up hobbies or engaging in activities that you enjoy.
  • Some people may have triggers that remind them of their past drug use. Knowing what they are can help you to anticipate a craving, plan how to deal with them when you start craving, and allows you to avoid the triggers whenever possible.
  • Reach out to people you can trust to discuss your drug use with. They can provide a different perspective to the situation, and talk you out of a potential relapse.