A new BBC documentary is delving into the world of 'chemsex' on the London gay scene.
The term 'chemsex' is part of a growing and worrying trend on the capital's club scene, where powerful disinhibitors like crystal meth, GHB and mephedrone are used in tangent with sex, leading to 'sex parties' that can last for days and often come hand in hand with unprotected sex and STI transmission.
Journalist Mobeen Azhar has explored the issue for BBC Radio 4's The Report - broadcast tonight (July 2) at 8pm and already previewed on BBC2's The Victoria Derbyshire Programme
"Once you try a powerful drug, and if that's linked into sex, then that's the kind of sex you're going to look for, because sober sex just doesn't match up to it," one former user, Kiran, explains.
READ: Filmmaker Mobeen Azhar on delving into London's gay chemsex scene
Kiran became embroiled in the chemsex scene after being introduced to it by a former partner, but after having unprotected sex about "30 percent" of the time, he eventually became infected with Hepatits C.
Another user, Jack, tells the programme that the drugs enabled him to party from Friday night until late on Sunday, and that he might have sex with up to 14 men at a host of different house parties.
Asked whether he feared contracting HIV, he said: "I have played with fire so much, if it happens, it happens. It isn’t the end of the world these days."
Speaking about the worrying rise in the number of gay men engaging in chemsex, Dave Stuart of the Club Drug Clinic at 56 Dean Street says: "We have about 100 new gay men accessing our chemsex support services each month. It is a high number. It's a surprisingly high number."
Of the link between chemsex and the soaring rates of STI and HIV transmission in gay men
, he explains: "We can tell those things are linked here anecedotally. We know that people are using condoms very irregularly when they're high. They want to when they're sober.
"The things you care about tomorrow, like your plans tomorroew, the money you're spending, the choices you're making about your sexual health, they don't matter that much when you're high on these drugs, and that's why they're problematic.
He adds that emotional issues gay men experience as adolescents can often be the root cause of such risky behaviour.
“These three particular drugs we are talking about are very powerful sexual disinhibitors for a population of people who need some disinhibition around their sex,” he says.
You can watch Mobeen's 10-minute report on The Victoria Derbyshire Programme on iPlayer now
(begins at 1hr, 23 mins), before listening to the full documentary Chemsex: The Report
on BBC Radio 4 at 8pm tonight (July 2).
Tennis star Stanislas Wawrinka bares all in new ESPN shoot
Watch: Christian lady loses her sh*t over equal marriage