Following the inaugural event in Berlin in August 2022, organised by Sauna Boiler, the second edition is the work of the Trombeta Bath sauna and Hotel Villa 3 Caparica, the two businesses that are founding partners of Variações.

The second European Gay Sauna Conference took place between 18 and 19 April at the Hotel Villa 3 Caparica. The objective was to facilitate connections between these businesses, enabling owners to gain mutual understanding and share knowledge and experiences. Health was a key focus throughout the conference. The conference welcomed invited speakers from a range of backgrounds, including GAT nurse Checkpointlx, Miguel Oliveira, who addressed prevention and follow-up, and Filipe Gomes from Kosmicare, an organisation dedicated to the health and rights of people who use drugs, their families and the communities in which they live. These establishments serve a community, acting as a kind of decompressor that allows people to experience sexuality in a safe environment.

The event brought together almost fifty entrepreneurs involved in LGBTI businesses from various European countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Italy and Belgium, as well as from North America, with representatives from the United States and Canada.

In the last decade, the advent of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and the consensual use of drugs in sexual contexts (chemsex) has led to an increase in unprotected relationships. Saunas are one of the favourite places for these practices. Consequently, the incidence of non-HIV sexually transmitted diseases has also increased significantly. This has prompted community structures to organize themselves in order to address this recent phenomenon.

In terms of community health, data was presented on the outreach intervention that the GAT Checkpointlx carries out.

Kosmicare presented on the use of new drugs in a sexual context (chemsex), a reality that is also emerging in saunas. They also discussed the counselling, risk reduction and clinical support services that Kosmicare and GAT have been offering in Lisbon since 2019.

These speakers marked the first day. On the second day, attendees visited the Trombeta Bath and, in the afternoon, met in working groups to finalise their conclusions in plenary. The evening concluded with a dinner and performance by Armani Divine. The conference was attended by José Antonio Marquina, Chairman of Variações, and Alexandra Pais de Sousa, Vice-Chairman. Variações sponsored the conference by paying for the guest artist’s hotel.

The event was a great success thanks to the hard work of João Costa (Trombeta Bath), António Marcos and Eddy Van Wallendael (Hotel Villa 3 Caparica). The 2nd Gay Sauna Conference brought 40 entrepreneurs from various countries to Portugal. Several attendees have already expressed their intention to return next year once they loved the way they were welcomed.