Reporting on 'chemsex' parties


Sir, – Andrew Leavitt (Letters, July 7th) poses a prickly and ambivalent quandary to journalists, who may seek to report on “the complex issues surrounding drugs, sex and HIV in our community [which are] of real consequence here in Ireland as well as the UK”.

Hard to know what style of reportage he might choose, if it is true that gay and bisexual men are “indulging in days-long orgies . . . fuelled by drugs ”. Using the descriptive word “hedonism” for such behaviour would hardly seem out of place or unduly exaggerated.

Such words are used regularly to describe the all-too-common holiday practices of post-Leaving Cert students on Mediterranean islands during the balmy summer months. Does Mr Leavitt object in those instances? The fact that there is a serious spike in HIV does not really warrant changing the standard terminology of factual reportage.

If adults choose to indulge in patently risky practices which are well-known “danger-zones” of activity, should we simply view it all as their rightful, respectful choice, irrespective of the fatal fallout for so many others who choose not to indulge so wantonly?

Surely such language calibration, as per Mr Leavitt’s entreaty, is in itself truly “hedonistic” in presuming such a “protected” stance vis-a-vis the obvious. – Yours, etc,



Co Waterford.