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The Paradox for Chem-Fun and Gay Men: A Neoliberal Analysis of Drugs

and HIV/AIDS Policies in Hong Kong

Author: Travis S.K Kong, Karen Joe-Laidler 

Title: The Paradox for chem-fun and gay men: A neoliberal analysis of drugs and HIV/AIDS policies in Hong Kong

Publication venue: Article, published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs

Date: 2020


Globally, there has been increasing public health and scholarly interest in chemsex, where the consumption of drugs is related to enhancing sexual pleasure, often in a group context, particularly among gay men or men who have sex with other men (MSM). Since the early 2000s, Hong Kong has witnessed the growth of a chemsex scene. In recent years, HIV/AIDs surveillance reports indicate that chemsex goers have contributed to the rise of HIV infections among MSM, and with increasing pressure from frontline workers, the government has recently acknowledged that this is an emerging issue. Drawing on neoliberalism as a policy framework, ideology, and mode of government, this article traces the adoption of neoliberal discourses of harm reduction in HIV/AIDS and drug policies in Hong Kong. We argue that this emergent issue is the result of two divergent policy orientations, thereby leading to a critical health service gap. This article examines the intersection between HIV/AIDS and drug policies in a particular cultural context to underscore health policy gaps and extend our understanding of the construction of neoliberal subjects in health policies beyond the West.

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