APCOM in partnership with PEPFAR/USAID/EpiC held a webinar on Chemsex

By February 11, 2022 Advocacy, Newsroom, Regional

Asia Pacific Chemsex Webinar: Opportunities for Integrating Sexualized Drug Users into HIV Program

Sexualized Drug Use (SDU) is not a new phenomenon and in Asia is receiving attention as the practice is further documented and explored, with SDU prevalence among MSM and transgender women ranging between 3.6% to 91.2% in the region[1]. Diverse social and sexual motivations for SDU are reported a review A qualitative scoping review of sexualised drug use (including Chemsex) of men who have sex with men and transgender women in Asia’, ranging from describing SDU as a social and sexual lubricant that increased pleasure, to beauty, status and freedom to participate in sexual fantasies. In different contexts, SDU is used to build individual and community identities and establish relationships or as a coping mechanism for those who had experienced stigma, rejection, and/or who described feelings of lost social and sexual worth. Common themes reported across SDU settings in this review include privacy, anonymity and secrecy, findings hardly surprising in an environment where penalties for supplying or using controlled substances may include enforced treatment, incarceration, or death, and where individuals who engage in sexualized drug use may further face exclusion from their peers and families due to the stigmatization and criminalization of same-sex relationships.

However, despite challenges, there are concerted efforts to reach members of key populations engaging in sexualized drug use and to provide HIV and harm reduction services as effectively engaging these high-risk individuals in the cascade of prevention, testing, and treatment services is critical to reaching HIV epidemic control.


  1. To build a common understanding of chemsex among key population communities and other stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific and Central Asia regions;
  2. To identify gaps and support needed related to chemsex issues at the country level, along with solutions to be implemented;
  3. To launch the Chemsex and the HIV Cascade guidelines in response to those needs;
  4. To advocate with government and other stakeholders on the chemsex issue, with the goal of influencing policy change and decision-making processes at the higher level.
5 minsWelcome & Introductions:
–          Housekeeping
–          Overview of the session
– Introduction of speakers
Executive Director 
5 minsDemonstrating how to use Jamboard and posing questions to the participants  Kasintorn Honglawan
Digital Monitoring Officer
5 minsOpening RemarksDr. Pimpanitta Saenyakul 
HIV Deputy Team Leader USAID 
10 minsSetting the sceneDesire Rwodzi
Angela Kelly-Hanku
Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research and the Kirby Institute, UNSW
5 minsKey findings from chemsex research across AsiaVideo clips from:
15 minsDiscussion on the up-coming Chemsex and HIV Cascade: A Guide for Program Planners in Key Population-led HIV/Sexual Health Programs in Southeast Asia, in collaboration with PEPFAR/USAID/Epic and APCOM.
Framing of the Cascade
Guidelines presentation
Steve Mills
Regional Director, EpiC Thailand, Burma, Laos
FHI 360 
Eddy Chamberlain
Lead consultant 
5 minsQ&AMidnight
Executive Director 
5 minsJamboard recapNicky Suwandi
Communications and Demand Generation Officer
20 minsMidnight to moderate
NOTE: Talk show format
Representations from:
Indonesia (Wawa)
Kyrgyzstan (Adilet)
Malaysia (Martin)
Philippines (Rod)
Thailand (Arm, Krubb)
Vietnam (Tien, Pluto)
Executive Director 
Representations from:
5 minsReflections on chemsex response in the regionKaren Peters
Regional Drugs and Health Programme Officer,
5 minsThank you to the speakers and Close Midnight
Executive Director 

Speakers Presentation

A qualitative scoping review of sexualised drug use (including Chemsex) of men who have sex with men and transgender women in Asia

Chemsex in Asia: A Community Manual on Sexualised Substance Use among MSM

Situation analysis of substance use among LGBT communities in Thailand 

Briefing note: Chemsex and Harm Reduction for Gay Men and other Men who have Sex with Men

Technical Guide: HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for people who use stimulant drugs

UNODC Research Presentation, ‘Chemsex’ in the Philippines: A baseline assessment of sexualized drug use, HUV, and other STIs among Filipino Cisgender men who have sex with Men.


[1] For example, the prevalence of SDU by MSM in mainland China ranges between 3.6% to 22.8%, increasing to 91.2% when reporting on popper use. In Hong Kong, SDU prevalence among MSM ranges between 3.7% to 14%; in Malaysia 14% to 23.9%; in Taiwan 7.5% to 60.7% (58); in Thailand 4% to 37% and in Vietnam 14% to 20.1%. Studies also report on the prevalence of SDU in transgender women in Cambodia (6%), Thailand (52.7%), and transgender women using poppers in China (85.4%). As well as populations of sex workers, including MSM in mainland China (33.6%), Thailand (62.2%) and Vietnam (6%) and transgender women in China (20.9%) and Malaysia (33.2%)


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