The GU Clinic at Mater Dei has issued a warning over a rise in STIs in Malta among men who reported they attended group sex parties.
Noting the “worrying trend”, the clinic, led by Dr Valeska Padovese, said that several men had sought help at the clinic in recent months after symptoms began to appear following their attendance at these group sex parties.
“Over the last six months, these events have been going on and over these last weeks we’ve seen some really bad cases of STIs at the GU Clinic,” Padovese told Lovin Malta. “They seem to stem from organised orgies involving 10 to 15 people having unprotected chemsex – and the patients told us these parties were going on every weekend in Malta.”
STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) are passed on from one person to another through unprotected sex or genital contact, and can be found in both males and females.
Padovese noted that patients are both Maltese and foreign, and most are self-reporting, though some were referred to the clinic via local NGOs. Many of them recounted how drugs were being used to prolong the sessions, with some parties “starting Saturday evening and finishing 10 hours later on Sunday morning”.
“There is no judgement here, and this is just a friendly message to the community,” Padovese emphasised, saying she wanted to raise awareness especially in light of a spike in syphilis in Malta.
“The group sex is usually organised by Maltese people in their homes with no forms of precautions or masks, so that is why we are very worried – and this isn’t just Malta, but something similar is happening in other European countries as well as a consequence of the COVID-19 closures,” she explained.
In regards the spike in syphilis, Padovese noted that though last year less people were tested for the STD, the rate of syphilis remained high, which was concerning.
When it comes to the parties themselves, attendees would be under the influence of recreational drugs like GHB, crystal meth, ecstasy and cocaine.
“Whilst we understand many people feel isolated and are desperate for connection, we all have a responsibility to safeguard other people’s wellbeing,” they urged while providing informative links to anyone who wants to find out how to practice safer sex.
From Padovese’s perspective, she wanted to emphasise both the health risks, as well as the legal risks, of partaking in such behaviour without protections and during a pandemic.
“You might be afraid of the legal consequences, but we are on small island, the risk is really there. During these parties, people are coming and going, there’s a continuous change of individuals, as if this was a big city like London and not a small island… no judgement,” she said.
“But we need to inform people, we aren’t trying to get anyone in trouble, but warn the community of the risk they are running, the spread of these infections is really high, let alone with the limited resources here at the GU Clinic – we are struggling to survive ourselves.”