Bugchasing (or bug chasing) is a slang term for a subculture of gay men who desire, and actively pursue HIV infection. Bugchasers "chase the bug" by seeking sexual partners who are HIV positive for the purpose of having unprotected sex and sero-converting; giftgivers are HIV+ men who attempt to infect bugchasers with HIV.
Bugchasing is not viewed favorably in the gay community many of whom consider it a reprehensible activity, and many seek to eliminate the practice within the gay community.
Bugchasers indicate various reasons for their desire to contract HIV, most commonly a sense of inevitability and a desire to take control by being active in their seroconversion. Others indicate that bareback (unprotected) sex is more natural and more desirable.
Some bugchasers organise and participate in "bug parties" or "conversion parties," sex parties where HIV positive and negative men engage in unprotected sex, in hopes of acquiring HIV ("getting the gift").
Over the past decade, researchers have endeavored to document, explain, and look for a solution to the problem of bug chasing. Dr. DeAnn Gauthier and Dr. Craig Forsyth put the first academic article forth in 1999. They explored the emerging trend of gay men who eschew condoms and the development of a barebacking subculture. They also noted through their qualitative research that some barebackers were in search of HIV. Dr. Richard Tewksbury was one of the first researchers to acknowledge bug chasing online and that bug chasers were using the Internet to post their interests in seroconversion. In his more recent research, he gave a strong analysis of what bug chasers and gift givers resemble in their behaviors, attitudes, and demographics. Dr. Mark Blechner found that some bug chasers were lonely and alienated, and saw HIV as a path to becoming part of a community that elicits public sympathy and caretaking. Other bug chasers were so overwhelmed by the anxiety of contracting HIV that they thought it would be a relief from that anxiety to become HIV-positive and "get it over with." And most recently, Dr. David Moskowitz and Dr. Michael Roloff attempted to quantitatively explain why bug chasers chase HIV. They claimed that individuals who look for HIV are more likely sex addicts. These individuals have exhausted the sexual high they previously derived by performing other sexual risk taking behaviors, and now turn to bug chasing to achieve the risk-oriented high.
All research mentioned here has been cited below.
Bugchasing has, more recently, been taken more seriously by medical health promotion bodies, such as the Centers for Disease Control, which hosted a workshop on the topic, hosted by Dr Michael Graydon of Carleton University, Ottawa, at the 2004 National STD Prevention Conference.
General press coverage:
This article is based on "Bugchasing and giftgiving" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org). It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bugchasing+and+giftgiving&action=history