hiv bug chasers

Source: Pixabay

Bug chasers: A community of homosexual men who fetishise HIV

The world sure is a strange place…

hiv bug chasers

Source: Pixabay

The internet is vast and while most of us enjoy the thrills of what it offers on the surface, some are not afraid to delve a little deeper.

This is what researcher and PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Manchester, Jaime Garcia-Iglesias realised when he spoke to homosexual men whose fetish was to contract the HIV virus.

These groups of men from all corners of the world, according to Garcia-Iglesias, connect on the internet and express their desires to contract the virus. They are known formally as ‘bug chasers’.

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What are bug chasers?

There is no definitive answer to the question, as there is no direct way to respond to it. The bug would be the virus itself and the chaser would be the person who is purposefully trying to contract it.

According to an article written by Thomas Loveless on the AIDS Education and Training Centre Program (AIDSETC) website, the term bug chasers gained notoriety after the release of the critically-acclaimed yet controversial documentary, The Gift (2003).

The doccie followed the story of Doug Hitzel who had the desire to contract the virus because it was, somehow, linked to his sexuality.

That is just the thing with bug chasers. They have a different outlook on the virus than the rest of the world does. Global outreach organisations like the World Health Organisation (WHO) commit resources and funds to relinquish HIV infections. It is seen as something that should not be part of human life.

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However, bug chasers believe differently. According to one man from London Garcia-Iglesias interviewed, the desire to attract the virus came after he lost his friend.

“As a gay man, HIV had to be part of me, and hot having it meant I was not yet complete.”

Another man, whose identity was protected for obvious reasons, stopped using anti-retroviral treatment, citing that it drove him sexually.

“It was a real turn on not knowing what would happen,” he stated.

Facts on HIV

It is mindblowing to think that of the 36.7-million (statistic based on WHO reporting) people living with HIV, a percentage of them are transmitting the virus willingly.

Anti-retroviral treatment is there to enable the body’s immune system to live longer, thus giving a person a chance at a longer life. Never has it occurred anywhere that infected people were driven by the infection and would subsequently drop treatment to fall ill – until now.