PITOŇÁK, M., PROCHÁZKA, I., MIČULKOVÁ, V., MALÝ, M. (2019). Venturing
beyond the Behavioural MSM: “Sex, Chems, & Satisfaction” in Their Syndemic
Contexts. Adiktologie, 19(2), 75–83; https://doi.org/10.35198/01-2019-002-0003
BACKGROUND: The health and well-being of those sexual-minority men who are often behaviourally defined as men who have sex with men (MSM) is affected by a system of interlinked factors that interact on the structural, interpersonal, and individual levels. Recently, two of the most common MSM health issues have been (a) the risks of acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs), mostly HIV, and (b) the sexualized use of addictive substances, known as chemsex.
AIMS: On the basis of the first comprehensive Czech dataset to integrate several mutually interlinked factors on the behavioural, as well as the psychological and structural domains, we attempt to shed light on the barriers to HIV testing and adherence to safer sex practices, including the most thorough description of the chemsex phenomenon that is available. We aim to go beyond the behavioural perspective and draw links to the well-being and satisfaction of this sexual minority and their sex lives.
METHODS: A series of descriptive statistical analyses was conducted on a sample of 547 respondents obtained within a self-administered online survey. RESULTS: More than half of our respondents (55%) and three-quarters (72%) of the men younger than 25 years have never been tested for HIV. One-third of the respondents considered testing services to be insufficiently friendly to gay, bisexual, or other men, and they also reported stigmatization and discrimination by healthcare workers as a problem that exists. 84% of the MSM have experience with anal sex; 43% of them always use condoms. Of all the respondents, nearly 6% have had at least one chemsex experience during their life. Only 46% of the MSM reported being satisfied with their sex lives; 52% of those who were dissatisfied attributed this to “not having a steady partner” and 49% to “not having any sex”.
CONCLUSION: The sexual behaviour of MSM and their experience with HIV testing, chemsex, perceived stigma, and satisfaction with their sex lives are among the phenomena that deserve to be more regularly covered by relevant epidemiological examinations. Although our current analysis was more exploratory than in-depth, it may contribute to a better understanding of the syndemic and multifactorial conditions that influence the sexual behaviour of MSM, including the minority stress that may be rooted in deficiencies in our understanding of these populations.