An undated handout picture released by, and showing, Substance Use Lead at the Chelsea and Westminster NHS hospital, David Stuart, in London on July 18, 2017.(AFP / David Stuart)
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The practice of turbocharging sexual encounters with powerful drugs that peel back inhibitions and boost endurance has gripped parts of Europe's gay community, raising red flags among doctors and campaigners. The dangers of "chemical sex" are many, including addiction, overdose and HIV infection, and the tally of victims appears to be mounting, they say.Mixing sex and drugs – in couples, or in groups – is nothing new.The risk of addiction is high, especially for gay men over 40, said Andreas von Hillner, a worker at gay counseling service Schwulenberatung Berlin.All three victims identified as part of the gay party scene.Another dangerous side effect is the tendency to withdraw socially into a drug-and-sex-infused bubble. For two full years, Wharton spent all his weekends in random apartments having drug-fueled sex.Health campaigners say the best way of treating chemsex addiction is to reject hype and moralizing – hard-won lessons from the 36-year war against AIDS.
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