Highs and lows: what Flux can tell us

Kirby Institute (UNSW Australia’s premier HIV Research organisation) has just released results from the Flux study – the largest study of legal and illicit drug use among gay and bisexual men – results which suggest recreational drug use is common, but dependency is low.

The report published last week on Friday revealed that the most commonly and frequently used drugs were marijuana and amyl nitrate (or ‘poppers’ as you probably know them), while a quarter of all men surveyed had used some sort of ‘party-drugs’ in the previous six months, including cocaine and amphetamine-type stimulants such as ecstasy, speed and crystal meth.

The most common reason given for illicit drug-use for those surveyed was for pleasurable experiences, and particularly to enhance sexual enjoyment.

“Although the specific role of drug use in HIV infection remains unclear, the reality that men are using drugs to enhance sexual experiences means that this is an important area for HIV and other STI prevention research,” said Associate Professor Garrett Prestage, Chief Investigator of the study.

ACON’s Chief Executive Officer, Nicolas Parkhill said, “The Flux study is critical to our ongoing understanding of the patterns of drug use in our communities. The high rates of tobacco, alcohol and other drug use observed among gay and bisexual men in Australia highlight the ongoing need for education and support services for our communities. While most gay and bisexual men will seek substance support from mainstream services, we must ensure that all services are inclusive of gay and bisexual men. ACON is proud to support this important research and hopes that it will help to reinforce our efforts to improve the treatment options available for gay and bisexual men in NSW.”

Read more about the Flux study on the ACON website or find the full report here.