AccScience Publishing / IJPS / Online First / DOI: 10.36922/ijps.2599
REVIEW

Health-related challenges faced by men who had sex with other men amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of sexualized drug use (chemsex): A literature review

Chawapon Sarnkhaowkhom1 Kobkul Madican2* Athichai Pankam2 Martin Pieter Willemse3
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1 Department of Health Education and Behavioral Sciences, Faculty of Public Health, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand
2 Boromarajonani College of Nursing Uttaradit, Faculty of Nursing, Praboromarajchanok Institute, Thailand
3 Faculty of Information and Communication Technology, Mahidol University, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
Submitted: 31 December 2023 | Accepted: 15 May 2024 | Published: 3 July 2024
© 2024 by the Author(s). This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution -Noncommercial 4.0 International License (CC-by the license) ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ )
Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has had widespread effects, impacting various aspects of human life, including sexual behaviors and substance use activities. This article aims to review and synthesize findings from existing published and unpublished research regarding health-related issues related to sexualized drug use (chemsex) among men who had sex with men (MSM) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The information was gathered from various databases, and 21 articles were included in this review. The results focused on the following seven health-related aspects: (i) Trends in chemsex practices among MSM during the pandemic; (ii) sexual behaviors and drug usage issues among MSM during the pandemic; (iii) mental and psychological health issues among MSM participating in chemsex during the pandemic; (iv) challenges and obstacles regarding health-care service access for MSM during the pandemic; (v) health disparity issues among MSM during the pandemic; (vi) digital health technology offering health care to MSM during the pandemic; and (vii) health-care interventions related to MSM engaging in chemsex during the pandemic. During the pandemic, targeted interventions were required that not only focused on mitigating physical health risks but also on addressing the mental health and socioeconomic challenges faced by MSM participating in chemsex. Moreover, digital health technologies and telemedicine offered promising avenues to provide necessary services remotely during the COVID-19.

Keywords
Chemsex
COVID-19
Sexualized drug use
Men who have sex with men
Literature review
Funding
None.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare they have no competing interests.
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