I am a 24-year-old Londoner
who takes the odd ecstacy pill now and again on a night out. On one of these nights, I was invited to a party with a group of guys. I knew there was going to be sex involved, but little did I know what I was getting myself into. We left the club and went back to an apartment. Before the music was even turned on, the crystal came out. I'd never even heard of "tina", but everybody else was taking it so I took some too. Hey, how bad can it be?
I've always been active. Tried being passive a couple of times, but hated it. But for the next 12 hours I had every one of the eight guys who was there inside of me. Did I use a condom? Hell, no. Did anyone else? Hell, no. Were some of them HIV+? Definitely. They were talking as if it was the norm. Maybe it is at these parties, but did I care at that moment in time? No way. All I cared about was getting as many dicks in me that I possibly could, and that I did. We all became animals.
Two days later, I suddenly realised the extent of what occured. I have spent the day in a sexual health clinic, and have to take 14 tablets a day for a month before I can take a test. I would never have unsafe sex. That night I had unsafe passive sex with at least three guys that I know were HIV+. Tina is a nasty drug. As I discovered, just one bump is all it takes, and you want more and more.
Fingers crossed, my result with the PEP treatment will be negative. And your fingers should be crossed, too, that tina doesn't come knocking on your door...
"WILL ANYONE IN LONDON LISTEN?"
I have seen the hell of crystal. Not what it did to me, as I am fortunate not to have an addictive personality and I value my life, health and finances. I have only done crystal four times, when offered, and I have turned it down numerous times. Unfortunately, others don't have that strength...
The hell I am talking about relates to a friend; an escort in London whose life has been destroyed by crystal and his carelessness and disrespect for his life. He has lost every pound he ever earned to crystal, is in major debt, has lost his home, friends... everything. And he is HIV+.
It started with a casual encounter with him at my place a month ago. I remember thinking, what the hell is this guy smoking in the pipe? Not one to spoil the mood, I inhaled a few times, then he told me what it was. At first I was pissed beyond belief as I have done drugs in extremely controlled moderation for years, and have studied them to understand what I'm doing to my body. Crystal was the demon of all drugs before I ever set eyes on her. But there was nothing I could do, I had smoked it now, so I went with the flow and thankfully suffered none of the adverse side effects like sleep deprivation, loss of appetite, and worse, the crash.
It would be four weeks later, at a bareback party in Soho with my new escort friend, where I would encounter crystal again. Well, everyone else was doing it, I didn't want to be the one left out. What ensued was three days of hardcore sex and smoking crystal, but by the third day I thought what the hell am I doing? I don't even like this drug - I'm only doing it because I felt an attraction to the escort.
I told him that I didn't want anymore, ever, and that if he wanted to continue we would sever ties at this junction. I managed to persuade him to get off the shit, but soon after the high went away I recognised, in the crystal haze, that I was attracted to someone who was not even my type; someone who was, and still is, hell bent on destroying himself and taking as many others as possible down with him. I pulled the brakes.
He was devastated we were over, and went right back to the crystal. "Because she's always there to make you happy," he said when I rang to read him the riot act when I found out from his dealer that he was back on it. His is a hopeless case; he will never stop until he dies of AIDS complications brought on at an alarming rate by quarter hourly inhalations, 24/7.
What is far worse is that he introduces crystal to his clients in the trade, as he did me that night, and has gotten some of them hooked. His profile on an online escort service reads I have tons of crystal - let's fuck all night! What his clients don't know is that not only is he getting people hooked on his so-called wonder drug, but that the sex he engages in is 100% unsafe. He is not only passing high viral loads on to those who might already be positive but to clients who are negative, as he did to someone I know who has been forced to go on medication having been told by this escort that he was negative. He was even shown doctored "proof".
Naturally, this escort is also infected with a string of STIs, which he swirls around like a cold or flu in a call centre. What do you do to stop people like this? Intentionally passing on HIV is already outlawed in the UK, and while I don't advocate a police state and believe that people should be able to do what they like as long as it doesn't affect others, the fact is meth does affect others; it affects everything around the user.
Crystal is by far the most dangerous drug ever to be seen in the London gay scene. It must be stopped and the dealers weeded out and users educated. A zero-tolerance approach by club promoters should be applied to it; they have all adopted this policy towards GHB, but the fact is that GHB is not addictive. In fact, when taken properly it can be beneficial and relaxing. Meth is infinitely more dangerous.
The question is, will anyone in London listen?
|Between May 2003 and December 2005, LIFE OR METH had 470,000 visitors, many of whom participated in our online surveys. These are the overall results for the period:
WHAT IS YOUR GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION?
USA / Canada 71%
UK / Mainland Europe 18%
Australia / New Zealand 9%
Africa / Asia 1%
THE LATEST Gay Men's Sex Survey (GMSS), conducted by Sigma Research for AIDS charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), reveals the extent of meth use among gay men in the UK. Of 17,267 gay and bisexual men interviewed during the summer of 2005, almost 3% - equating to 90,000+ men nationwide - admitted using in the previous 12 months, of whom 0.3% - around 9,000 - said that they used once or more a week. In London, the number doubles to 6% - approximately 25,000 - of whom an undisclosed "vast majority" claimed to use crystal less than once a month.
IF YOU USE CRYSTAL FREQUENTLY OR OCCASIONALLY, HOW OFTEN HAS IT LED TO YOU ENGAGING IN UNSAFE SEX?
Always, I no longer practise safe sex 36%
Sometimes, when I can't help myself 18%
I have slipped up only once or twice 19%
I am always in control and play safe 26%