We know how feelings of loneliness, wanting to be loved, belonging, sexual performance and body image can cause a lot of pressure, fear and anxiety. Especially when you arrive in a new country where being lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) is safe and welcome. Adapting to this new freedom, the pressure and loneliness of not knowing many people can have negative effects, leading many to seek help in drugs and alcohol.
As a result, many men end up at chemsex parties, often organised through dating apps. Ketamine, ecstasy, GHB and crystal meth are often used here. The drugs and alcohol may initially seem to help with anxiety, fear, sexual performance and so on, but it can quickly become problematic and change who you are and what you do, putting you at risk of SoA and HIV infections and the possibility of addiction.
In Choices, we hear about men who meet and hook up with men via Grindr, just for a place to stay outside the asylum centre. The result is that many asylum seekers do things out of fear of staying in the centre that they might not want to do. We call this 'survival sex'. Although it may seem like a good choice at first, sometimes you will have to do things that you may not feel comfortable with, which causes feelings of shame and guilt. When under the influence of GHB and/or other drugs, you run the risk of being raped, sexually abused or having an overdose.
If you find that you feel the need to stay with people you meet on a dating app because of the fear of staying in the AZC, or you find that you go to too many parties, come and talk to us. We may not be able to change your living situation right away, but we can provide psychological counselling and help you to change your current situation. At Choices we can also get you started with PrEP and arrange an appointment for an STI or HIV test.
GGD Amsterdam helps Choices asylum seekers/newcomers members to start PrEP in a short time. If you have had unprotected - condomless - sex we can also arrange an STI and HIV test for you at the GGD. If you would like an HIV test today, Choices offers our members free HIV self-tests to take at home and with video support for taking the test.
To talk to us about your sex and drug use, register here.
Choices can refer you to get tested at the GGD, TransHealth clinic or AHF. If you are interested in self-testing, Choices can provide you with a free HIV oral self-test. For a free oral HIV self-test or an appointment to have PrEP, and HIV or STD testing at one of our partner organisations, please contact Louis Seghetto: firstname.lastname@example.org
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