A dangerous new trend, in which teenagers have unprotected orgies with people who are HIV Positive, is reportedly on the rise in Barcelona.
According to several reports in the Spanish media, the high-risk activity – more commonly known as ‘sex roulette’ – has been growing in popularity across the Catalan capital. Much like Russian roulette, the sex parties are aimed at people who want to add an element of danger to their carnal connections, by inviting (at least) one ‘secret’ HIV positive person to the group.
The trend, which is apparently practised by people of all sexualities, echoes the equally contentious ‘bugchasing’ movement; where gay men actively pursue the virus for sexual pleasure.
According to Barcelona’s Hospital Clinic – which is currently treating around 100 positive people a day – the rise of ‘sex roulette’ has also been linked to a spate of other sexually transmitted infections including hepatitis C, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. It has also been connected to the notable decline in the amount of young people who are concerned with catching HIV (stats reveal that 24 per cent of 15-25-year-olds are “not afraid” of the virus).
But why, despite all the obvious dangers, is this disturbing trend so appealing? “Going to sex roulette parties is about the risk, partygoers think the higher the risk, the stronger the thrill,” says psychosexual therapist Kate Moyle. “In the case of sex parties the intense high is as you combine orgasm with high adrenaline. However the high is short term and the long term consequences are dangerous as not only is there the risk of contracting HIV, but other harmful sexually transmitted infections.”
It’s not the first time the media has reported on the ‘sex roulette’ trend, either. Back in 2014, Lavanguardia newspaper raised concerns about the number of straight teenagers indulging in these kinds of “high-risk” orgies; adding that they believed the craze had come “from Colombia”.
“We’ve become victims of our own success when it comes to treatment,” explains AVERT’s news officer, Caitlin Maron. “HIV treatment is much more accessible and effective in this era, and people living with HIV are living healthier lives and into old age. As such, many people may feel that becoming infected with HIV isn’t such a ‘big deal’.”
“Whilst the outlook for people living with HIV is certainly positive, it is still a life-long chronic condition, with treatment needing to be taken every day,” she adds. “Living with HIV can still be a significant challenge for many.”