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Welcome to the SEARCHER project,

A project about substance use and sexuality.


The objective of this project is to improve care for individuals seeking support on the topics of sexuality, substance use, sexualized substance use, and sex work.






Dear participants,


We would like to thank you for your participation and the great interest in our project!

The data sets are currently being analyzed. As soon as a publication is available, it will be shown on this website.


Thank you very much for your valuable contributions!



Background and objectives 


The increasing use of substances in sexual context poses a risk of as yet unknown magnitude. Chemsex has already been defined as a risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as well as for the development of mental illness.


Chemsex has been defined as a distinct phenomenon only in the last decade and differs demographically and behaviorally from other forms of illicit substance use.


Substance use as well as sex for recompense are considered syndemic factors that correlate with physical and mental illness. A largely unknown topic is the influence of sexualized substance use on preexisting problems. No research is yet available on this topic.


In previous surveys and qualitative studies about chemsex and sexualized substance use, some participants have signaled having done sex for recompense or being involved in sex work. In real, it has also been observed to be a relevant proportion of chemsex users, but not yet clearly defined.


In previous work could be observed a correlation between loneliness and willingness to take part on chemsex practices. However, no satisfactory data exist for the German-speaking countries on this topic either.




Ethics approval

The study has already been approved by the ethics committee of the LMU Munich.





To the best of our knowledge, this is the first project to adress in depth the topic of transactional sex, sex work and sexualized substance use. Based on the results, concrete and specific interventions will be developed to help further differentiate and improve the care situation for those directly affected. In the long term, improvements in therapeutic services are possible.

This work will be taken as a basis for further projects in the field. Initially, it is planned within the framework of the SEARCHER project to create this website with measures for risk education and harm-reduction as well as options for counseling, prevention (e.g. contact addresses for testing centers for sexually transmitted infections or for prescribing HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, PreP) and therapy (e.g. referral centers for initiating detox-treatment or treatment for sexually transmitted infections).



If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us!

Counseling and Support

We are happy to help you find an accessible counseling center or appropriate therapy near you on the following subjects:

  • Substance use

  • Sexuality

  • Chemsex

  • Prostitution

  • Mental health

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  • Augsburg city - Office for Municipal Prevention

    +49 (0) 821 324 3309
    Address:  Gögginger Straße 57, 86159 Augsburg


Counselling centers


  • Augsburger Aidshilfe e.V.



         Phone:  +49 (0) 821 2592690

         Address:  Ulmer Str. 182, 86156 Augsburg

  • Drug Counseling Schwaben: TDrogenhilfe Schwaben provides counseling in the area of "illegal drugs" and offers addiction prevention counseling. Our services support all people who are at risk of becoming dependent on illegal drugs or already are, as well as people from their entire social environment. In our addiction prevention activities, we focus on health promotion in schools and workplaces. We are covering the city of Augsburg and the neighboring counties of Augsburg and Aichach-Friedberg.

         Phone: +49 (0) 821 34390-10

         Address: Jesuitengasse 9, 86152 Augsburg


  • AIDSwork Center in Schwaben: The ZAS offers a protected space in which the observance of confidentiality is a matter of course. Furthermore, the ZAS is a social space where encounters become possible and exchange can take place. The ZAS offers free space in which each person is respected with his or her uniqueness and experiences appreciation. The team is committed to diversity and against discrimination of any kind, counteracts stigmatization and supports people with HIV and AIDS.



         Phone: +49 (0) 821 15 80 81

         Address:  Schaezlerstraße 36 86152 Augsburg

Assisted Living:


  • Assisted Living in Augsburg: Assisted living Augsburg: Those seeking help can take up assisted living in their own apartment or in our abstinent living community (Nachsorge-WG). Offer: Personal reference person as contact person. Discussions to identify life goals. Guidance in identifying problems and solving them. Support in organizing everyday life. Group and free time activities. Help with work and professional integration. Living in an abstinent living community. Individual planning of the future and support in its implementation.

    Website:   Betreutes Einzelwohnen Augsburg • Condrobs e.V.
    Adress: Beim Schnarrbrunnen 4, 86150 Augsburg 
    Phone: +49 (0) 821 50890693


Counselling Centers:
  • Basis und Woge: As a supporting organization, we at basis & woge unite a wide range of assistance services under our roof. Our goal across all services and projects is to help people at eye level and to stand by them in their time of need. Together with them we want to work out new ways and create perspectives. Our offers can be classified in a number of subject areas: We offer help and support with family conflicts, sexual violence, living on the street, discrimination, and for refugees. In the following, you will get an overview of the different offers and who is available to you as a contact person there in each case. If you have any questions or are unsure where to place your request, please feel free to contact our office.

    Phone:  +49 (0) 40 3984260
    Address: Eulenstraße 43,  22765 Hamburg
  • Hein und Fiete: The gay checkpoint. Every Tuesday and Thursday: tests for HIV and other STI for free and anonymous.

    Phone:  +49 (0) 40 240333
    Address: Pulverteich 21, 20099 Hamburg


Counselling Centers:
  • Drug Counselling Center Munich: Condrobs' largest counseling center and has been responsible for the city and district of Munich since 1972. In addition to counseling in individual, couple and family sessions, there are also regular group programs for those affected and their relatives. For example, on the topic of cannabis, relapse prevention, parent/child orKISS.

         Website:   Drogenberatung München • Condrobs e.V.
         Phone:  +49 (0) 89 3883766

         Address:  Konradstraße 2, 80801 München
  • Marikas: a counseling center for young men in prostitution.
         Phone: +49 (0) 89 7259084
         Address: Dreimühlenstr. 1, 80469 München
  • Mimikry: Mimikry is a counseling center for active and former sex workers. We offer information and advice on sex work and all other topics and problems where you need support. Our offer is free of charge and anonymous. If you wish, we can organize an interpreter. You can come to us regardless of your nationality and residence status.

         Adress: Dreimühlenstr. 1, 80469 München
         Phone: (089) 72 59 083 


  • Chemsex Counselling in Sub e.V.: Chemsex counseling is a professional counseling service of the addiction support for people who have or had chemsex, their relatives, friends and also professionals. We advise, accompany and help people who have questions about chemsex. No matter if chemsex has become a problem, if addiction plays a role or if there are simply questions about the topic: We are non-judgmental, anonymous and free of charge for all questions around sexuality and substance use there! We offer individual and couples counseling. In addition, the "Chemsex-Control-Group", a self-help group, meets at Sub e.V. every two weeks.

         Adress: Müllerstraße 14
         Phone: +49 (0) 89 856346401



Counselling Center:
  • Kassandra e.V.: The sex work sector has many facets and manifestations. Therefore, a wide variety of people are active in the sex trade. KASSANDRA informs, advises and supports sex workers. Free of charge, anonymous, appreciative and, of course, in compliance with confidentiality. Find out more about our wide range of services!


         Phone:  +49 (0) 911 3765277 

         Address:  Endterstraße 6, 90459 Nürnberg

  • Lilith a non-profit, acceptance-oriented, low-threshold and feminist drug assistance organization in Nuremberg. Our primary target groups include drug-using women and children of drug users. We offer the following standard services free of charge: Survival assistance (food, hygiene, clothing, safer use items), socio-pedagogical counseling, outpatient therapy, contact (women's café), street work, crisis intervention, mediation, outpatient assisted living (23 places) and work projects (16 jobs and qualification measures), groups, play and free time activities. Annually, we care for about 750 women and 250 children.

         Phone: +49 (0) 911 472218

         Adress: Bogenstraße 30, 90459 Nuremberg
  • Mudra: mudra works on the basis of an accepting approach according to the principles of target group , lifeworld , needs and resource orientation. A wide range of help and support services are available, covering almost all areas of life of drug users. mudra thus has a unique position in the Nuremberg metropolitan region and is a recognized drug work organization nationwide.

         Tel: +49 (0) 911 8150100

         Adress: Ludwigstraße 61, 90402 Nuremberg



  • Chemsex Netzwerk: Chems and sex. Drug use during sex is also a reality for many people in Vienna and Austria. Safer sex and safer use, a safe environment for all involved, mental and physical health - these are all important issues when it comes to chemsex. For all chemsex users, the facilities of the Chemsex Network offer support and counseling.





  • Aids Hilfe Steiermark We advise, inform and care for people in an appreciative manner, regardless of age, ethnic origin, socio-cultural belonging, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, political stance and personal life situation, about sexual health matters with a focus on HIV/AIDS.



         Phone:  +43 (0) 316815050

         Address: Hans-Sachs-Gasse 3, 8010 Graz



Counselling centers


  • Aidshilfe Tirol



         Phone:  +43 (0) 512563621

         Address:  Kaiser-Josef-Straße 13,  6020 Innsbruck



  • AURORA: We support people who are or have been involved in prostitution in a social work and holistic way. Our goal is to create a place of acceptance and appreciation. We accompany them to expand their options for action. As a social initiative, we stand up for their rights and stand against injustice and exploitation. The association is based in Ober-Austria.



         Phone:  +43 (0) 67764264096

         Address:  Paul-Hahn-Straße 1-3, 4020 Linz



Counselling centers


  • Aidshilfe Salzburg



         Phone:  +43 (0) 662881488

         Address:  Innsbrucker Bundesstraße 47, 5020 Salzburg




Counselling centers

  • COURAGE: is the first counseling center for same-sex and transgender lifestyles recognized under the Family Counseling Promotion Act and the City of Vienna. COURAGE offers free and anonymous counseling primarily for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons and their relatives. COURAGE sees itself as a partner, family and sexual counseling center and is available to all those seeking advice and help in the areas of relationships and sexuality as well as violence and sexual assault. COURAGE operates nationwide and is internationally networked and recognized.



         Phone:  +43 (0) 15856966

         Address:   Windmühlgasse 15, 1060 Vienna


  • SOPHIE: We are a counseling center of Volkshilfe Wien for sex workers* in Vienna, Burgenland and Lower Austria. We support female-to-be-read and non-binary persons in expanding their scope of action inside and outside of sex work. We work with an accepting approach - that means we take your life situation as a sex worker seriously and work on problem solutions and an improvement of the general life situation without prejudice and moralizing. Are you a sex worker or have you ever worked in sex work? Then you are right with us!



         Phone:  +43 (0) 1897 55 36

         Address: Oelweingasse 6-8, A- 1150 Vienna



General Practice:


  • Group Practice Dr. Horst Schalk + Dr. Karl Heinz Pichler General Practitioners: One of our specialties is the care of HIV-positive patients. All HIV-specific laboratory tests and - if necessary - HIV therapy are available at our clinic. Another major focus of ours is the care of people living together as a same-sex partners. In our practice, homosexual people find an open atmosphere in which they can also address personal and intimate problems. We are available exclusively by appointment on some days as early as 7 am and as late as 8 pm. Moreover, we are open on weekdays all year round, there are no closures due to vacations.



         Phone:  +43 (0) 14080744

         Address:  Zimmermannplatz 1, 1090 Vienna



About Us

The research focus of our group, which is divided into two locations (University Medical Center Augsburg and LMU Munich), is on the topic of substance-related dependence diseases. Here we are particularly concerned with the topic of tobacco dependence. In addition, we are also concerned primarily with the interplay between sexuality and substance use, whereby "chemsex" - a subform of sexualized substance use - in which primarily men who have sex with men (MSM) take certain substances (GBL/GHB, methamphetamine and mephedrone) in a sexual context. This is associated with significant risks to physical and mental health.


Research Groups


  • Univ. Prof. Dr. med. Alkomiet Hasan
  • Dr. med. Marcus Gertzen
  • Douglas Silva Leao
  • Naiiri Ghazari (M.Sc.)
  • Theresa Halms (M.A.)
  • Peter Martl
  • PD Dr. med Tobias Rüther
  • Dr. med. Andrea Rabenstein
  • Cornelia Rosenberger
  • Moritz Strasburger
  • Solveig Gernun
  • Johanna Schwarz
  • Sinan Karcher
  • Hanna Hentschel


Visit our website:




Mr. Douglas Silva Leao 


Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics of the University of Augsburg

Geschwister-Schönert-Strasse 1

86156 Augsburg
Tel: +49 (0) 821 4803-4185