Spill the Tea
Party and Play, also called chemsex or PnP, is a commonly used term among guys into guys for using drugs before or during sex. MAX recognizes this is one of many ways guys connect with each other, like bars, apps, sports, activism, groups. However, the unique stigma surrounding drugs and sex is a barrier to having discussions in our communities that stop many from accessing the tools they need to party and play more safely. These can include:
- Accessing harm reduction supplies such as injection kits, needles, and Naloxone kits
- Getting regular HIV and STI testing performed
- Seeking social and peer support and
- Speaking to service providers and health professionals
In response to this, MAX, in partnership with ViiV Healthcare and Capital Pride, have launched Spill the Tea, which focuses on safer partying education and awareness and getting guys into guys in the Ottawa region connected to information and resources.
How are we doing that?
Hosting three events over the year at local social venues with drag queens to provide a fun and safe environment.
The kickoff edition of Spill the Tea took place on August 23, 2018. The event featured Shea Coulee, RuPaul’s season 9 top four queen, Anaconda LaSabrosa from Montreal, Mikiki from Toronto, and local queen Devona Coe at the 27 Club. Alongside Somerset West Health Centre and Ottawa Public Health, we supplied almost 800 safer partying supplies for attendees.
Spill the Tea is a health and wellness intervention program to deliver safer partying education and awareness among guys into guys who participate in party and play, sometimes referred to as chemsex.
This page will answer:
What is Spill the Tea?
Spill the Tea is a fun and innovative program to deliver safer partying education and awareness to guys into guys that live, work, and play in the Ottawa area. Stigma around drugs and sex creates huge barriers to having open discussions about party and play (PNP) in the GBT2Q male community. Spill the Tea helps address these barriers by hosting events from summer 2018 to spring 2019 at local social venues with Ottawa-based, national and international drag queens and performers to provide a fun and safe environment for effective outreach.
We held the first event August 2018 starring Shea Coulee, a second November 2018 starring Ongina, and a third in April 2019 with Nina Bo’nina Brown, all stars from RuPaul’s Drag Race. What did some MAX service users and attendees have to say about it?
- “The event touched on important things and did it in a good way!” Anonymous
- “It was the perfect balance of infotainment – the audience attention was kept!” Anonymous
- “It was a great night! Loved the music and performances — and getting to meet Ongina! And I loved how friendly the Max staff, and volunteers, were. A very welcoming atmosphere!” Anonymous
How did the program come about?
MAX Ottawa and ViiV Healthcare Canada are testing a 2017 similar initiative that proved successful in Berlin: Let’s Talk and Test! The program which helped connect gay, bi, and other queer men to testing resources and care. MAX Ottawa did a PNP needs assessment in early 2018 and found that 40% of respondents of GBT2Q guys in the area engaged in PNP at least once in the last year. From that number, over half declared using drugs only for sexual purposes. Through ViiV Healthcare’s Positive Partnership, we created a local program to help address these facts. With a partnership with Capital Pride, we debuted Spill the Tea during Ottawa Summer Pride week.
MAX and ViiV wanted to ensure Spill the Tea was a community-led project so a safer partying advisory committee was formed. Guys from the Ottawa area offered their time and knowledge to inform MAX and ViiV of their wants, needs, and desires for an effective harm reduction program. They also decided on the name, Spill the Tea!
Says one committee member, “…It’s time we raise awareness on PNP and spill the truth/tea about drug use and sex. If we continue to sweep it under the rug, we will continue to see a rise in STI’s and HIV transmission. These parties do take place, there’s no stopping that, our best approach is to understand them, support them with resources, services and supplies to party safer.”
There are many approaches to harm reduction. One way is not doing drugs. Another is making sure that people have what they need to do drugs safely. It can also mean helping people cut back or stopping completely. Spill the Tea’s goal is to offer guys into guys who enjoy using drugs, particularly PNP, information and supplies to stay safe and healthy.
Where can guys get harm reduction supplies?
MAX has individual harm reduction kits designed for inhalation and injection use. They are discreetly packaged and can fit in a back pocket. You can email MAX to arrange a pick-up at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the NESI (Needle Exchange and Safer Inhalation) van which will deliver one to you confidentially. Our kits continue to change as we get more feedback from the community.
An injection kit has:
- Sharps container with needles, cookers, alcohol swabs, and an armband inside
- Latex gloves
- Condoms and lube
- A bilingual English/French information packet
An inhalation kit has:
- A crack kit
- A meth kit (pipes, screens, pushers, and mouthpiece)
- Latex gloves
- Condoms and lube
- Snorting kits
- A bilingual English/French information packet
What other harm reduction services are available?
A mobile service that delivers safer injection and inhalation supplies to you. Free and confidential
- T: 613-761-0003
- Monday through Saturday
- 5:00 PM to 11:30 PM
Supervised consumption services (SCS) provide a safe and hygienic environment where people bringing pre-obtained drugs can pop, snort or inject drugs under the supervision of medical staff. Staff do not supply or administer drugs. You can also pick up harm reduction supplies as well!
- Open everyday from 8:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m Last call at 7:00 p.m.
- T: 613-238-5014, ext. 239
- Monday through Friday
- 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
NESI (Needle exchange and safer inhalation) drop-in centre
- Monday through Wednesday and Fridays
- 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 1:00 to 4:00 PM
- Thursdays 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM only
- Monday through Friday
- 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
To access services ask the front desk clerk for a prepared kit. It is handed to you in a brown paper bag:
- “N” bag = Long needle supplies
- “S” bag = Short needle supplies
- “P” bag= Pipes
- If you prefer greater privacy, a worker can provide supportive & confidential services in a closed room. Supplies are also available during Gay ZONE hours (Thursday 5:30-8:00 PM)
Harm reduction vending machines:
Ottawa Public Health provides free vending machines that contain sterile injection and inhalation supplies. The vending machines are operated with a token. Your first token can be obtained from a staff member during business hours. Each kit comes with an additional token for future discreet use.
Vending machine locations:
Where can guys find sexual health testing centers?
There are many places to access rapid and anonymous HIV testing and STBBI testing. Listed below are some options:
Suburban outreach clinics:
Suburban outreach clinics offer anonymous and free HIV testing services, sexual health counselling, and mental health support. Drop-in or make an appointment at hivtest.setmore.com. Suburban clinics are a partnership with MAX Ottawa, The Aids Committee of Ottawa, and Somerset West Community Health Centre.
Clinic locations and times:
Every second Wednesday of the month:
- Orleans-Cumberland CRC
- 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM.
Every Third Wednesday of the month:
- South Nepean CRC
- 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM.
Every fourth Wednesday of the month:
- Western Ottawa CRC
- 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
GayZONE is a weekly clinic at Centretown Community Health Centre on Thursday evenings. You can access HIV and STBBI testing, post-test counselling and programs such as yoga, book club, and NA meetings. Gay Zone is a partnership with MAX Ottawa, The Aids Committee of Ottawa, and Centretown Community Health Centre.
- Every Thursday
- 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Somerset West Community Health Centre
SWCHC provides rapid HIV testing and post-test counselling
- Monday to Friday
- 1:00 PM-5: 00 PM
- Walk-in basis
For a complete list of testing sites, visit Ottawa Public Health.
Are there any online resources that can help guys party safer? *
The Safer partying video with Mikiki and David was originally recorded on August 15th, 2019, this workshop covers PnP and safer partying. The workshop is split into three categories: before, during, and after, with questions were crowdsourced from guys in Ottawa.
Tripsit is a volunteer organization that provides real-time harm reduction chat for drug users, drug combination charts, fact sheets and much more. They also have an easy to use mobile app. Follow them on Facebook @tripsitme, Twitter @teamtripsit, and Reddit @r/tripsit.
Psychonautwiki.org is a community-driven encyclopedia of various substances including ones commonly used for PnP. It has expert and crowd-sourced information, provides accessible education, encourages safe practices, and promotes individual responsibility. Follow them in Facebook @psychonautwiki
Please note that the views expressed in this video are those of the hosts’ lived and professional experience and not necessarily those of MAX Ottawa. One should always use their best judgement when making decisions about how to party safer.
How can my organization host its own Spill the Tea?
Spill the Tea in the Media:
- MAX Ottawa and ViiV Healthcare Launch Innovative Spill the Tea Campaign
Written by Fugues Magazine, July 31, 2018.
- Spilling The Tea On Guys Who Party And Play
Written by Jumol Royes for In Magazine, August 1, 2018.
- Capital Pride: An open talk about Party and Play culture
Written by Mathew Adams for Apt613, August 7, 2018.
- Spill the Tea to Fight Stigma Surrounding Sexual Health
Written by Marissa Phul for The Fulcrum, August 28, 2018.
- Gay men, Substance Use and Harm Reduction: It’s Time To Act. Written by Dane Griffiths for CATIE, February 4, 2019.
About MAX Ottawa
MAX Ottawa is a community-based organization that focuses on the maximization of the health and well-being of gay, bisexual, two-spirit, queer and other guys who are into guys, whether or not by educating, addressing disparities in health outcomes, and delivery activities to support health and wellbeing. Formerly known as the Ottawa Gay Men’s Wellness Initiative, MAX is proud to be the first stand-alone GBT2Q men’s health organization in Ontario.
About ViiV Healthcare Canada
ViiV Healthcare is the only company dedicated to developing HIV treatment. Learn more about ViiV Healthcare and how we support the HIV / AIDS community at www.viivhealthcare.ca.
For more information contact:
Executive Director, MAX
O: 613-701-6555, email@example.com
News About Spill the Tea & Harm Reduction
Here are some of our blog posts about Spill the Tea.
New health services during COVID-19 We recognize the need for increased access to MAX’s community programming, particularly for vulnerable segments of GBT2Q guys into guys during the pandemic. Over the past few months, MAX Ottawa has launched new programs and services to address community mental health, harm reduction support, and…Read More
So far in 2019, MAX Ottawa has distributed 13,584 harm reduction supplies! How do we keep up? With the help of volunteers and community members such as yourself! Harm Reduction Supply Packing Party On November 28, 2019, we hosted a harm reduction packing party. Fourteen people attended along with MAX’s…Read More
MAX Ottawa presented at the 2019 Community-Based Research Centre’s (CBRC) Summit. The Summit is CRBC’s annual two-day event that promotes knowledge exchange and capacity building for gay, bi, trans, Two-Spirit, and queer men’s (GBT2Q) health. This year’s theme was ‘Queering Healthcare Access & Accessibility,’ Over 300 researchers, service providers, community…Read More
YouthCO et MAX présentent la campagne novatrice « Spill the Tea » à Vancouver À l’aide d’une subvention de ViiV Healthcare, YouthCO et MAX lancent leur campagne révolutionnaire d’éducation et de sensibilisation en vue d’aider les gars qui aiment les gars à faire la fête en plus grande sécurité en…Read More
YouthCO and MAX Bring Innovative “Spill the Tea” Campaign to Vancouver With a grant from ViiV Healthcare, YouthCO and MAX are launching their groundbreaking campaign to promote safer partying education for guys who are into guys in British Columbia for the first time. October 28 (Vancouver, BC) – On Wednesday, October…Read More