Join the live chat. LGBTQ/HIV activist, Founder and President of Impulse Los Angeles, Jose Ramos, is hosting a live conversation on “Chemsex, Apps, T, G & Help” during the COVID-19 pandemic, with recovery treatment expert and CEO/Founder of La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center, Manny Rodriguez. The discussion will be held on Instagram Live, on Friday, April 24, via the Impulse United – @impulseunited.
This is the second installment in a series of three live chats using digital platforms to adhere with social distancing guidelines recommended by Los Angeles County’s Safer at Home Order during the coronavirus crisis.
The first live session “Chemsex, PNP and COVID,” with chemsex expert and British health worker, David Stuart, took place last week with Jose Ramos as moderator. Stuart produced the documentary Chemsex (he coined the phrase). His expertise helps government and non-government organizations build chemsex support and HIV prevention services.
“Jose approached me about having a discussion on the more acute problems with meth, sex and apps during COVID-19,” Rodriguez told WEHO TIMES of his upcoming live chat. “Some people do really well with harm reduction, but if you really suffer from drug addiction, you’re probably going to need some kind of intervention. Impulse was heavily impacted by COVID-19. Their work is about engaging with the community in a social setting, so how are they going to reach people during this long haul? A live chat is one of the new ways for them to reach their audience.”
Next week, Ramos invites Stuart and Rodriguez back for a digital discussion on Facebook Live via Zoom (details to come). The conversation will be combine recovery, health, resources and chemsex. There will be a clinical standpoint, as well as therapy and risk reduction.
“We’re finding ways to engage,” Ramos said. “We’ve always had these tools, but we have never explored them the way we are now. We’re incorporating what we used to do, which was in-person social events and are now using online courses. I think together they can work.”
Ramos says that he knows a lot people who are currently engaged in drug use and sexually active during Stay at Home Orders.
“If you’re an addict, COVID-19 is not going to take it away,” he said. “I wanted to bring some awareness to the fact that people are still doing drugs. I do think there are a lot of people who still need help. It’s not a good time to be an addict and struggle by yourself with nothing to do. I want to explore what it means to be in recovery right now. How can we help? When you think about the complexities of drug use and sex and you throw COVID into it, it’s not going to stop people. We survived the AIDS epidemic. We have STDs left and right. If that’s not stopping you from having sex, I don’t think COVID is going to either. I approached Manny to have this discussion because unfortunately it’s still very relevant. Let’s give them some tools, or at least point them to some resources.”
Impulse Group is an international group of volunteers and friends dedicated to promoting healthier sexual lifestyles among gay men.
The live chat on Chemsex, Apps T, G, & Help with Manny Rodriguez is on Friday, April 24, from 5pm-7pm on Instagram Live: @ImpulseUnited.