Bug Chasers and Gift Givers

A video from 2003 called The Gift by Louise Hogarth. A very bizarre video about gay men who try to get HIV (bug chasers) and men who have HIV and try to give it to others (gift givers). It sounds completely insane and really it is, but it is not so nuts and nihilistic and it sounds.

These are young gay men who are sick and tired of worrying about whether or not they are going to catch HIV or not. They are tired of worrying about it. So they are just going to get HIV and get it over with. Then they can have all the wild sex they want to without worrying about anything anymore. Unfortunately, that is understandable. The problem is that some of the bug-chasers in this video not only got HIV, but they got quite sick very quickly after they got it. It doesn’t seem to have been worth it.

The bug-chasing and gift-giving community numbered about ~15,000 in online communities when this movie was shot. The phenomenon was increasing in the early 2000’s, but no one knows if it is still increasing. It probably isn’t or at least not by much, but it’s still going on.

Another problem is that once you are HIV-positive, by no means are all of your worries over. For one thing, you can get multiple infections of different clades of HIV, or more commonly in the US, different strains of HIV. The multiple strains tend to make the illness more virulent, and you can die a lot faster than you would have with just one strain. Multiple-clade infections are more common outside the US, such as in Africa where most of the clades are still evident. Cameroon in particular seems to harbor almost all of the clades. In the US, only Clade B is generally present.

Also you can acquire a drug-resistant strain of Clade B, which is what is happening in the US. And different clades are combining to form multiple-clade recombinant forms of the virus which are particularly hard to deal with.

There are other factors at work here. The gay community has developed a PC phobia of attacking positive men as it will hurt their feelings. Therefore, you can’t even say that it’s good to be HIV-negative as it will hurt positive men’s feelings. Crazy or what? But it’s typical PC lunacy. PC after all is simply the pathological fear of hurting somebody’s feelings. So because of this, the gay community can’t say that being HIV-positive is bad (in fact, there are repeated messages of how one can live a great life with HIV which are not really true). Also they can’t say it’s better to be HIV-negative than HIV-positive as this will discriminate and hurt feelings. It’s all nuts.

The community has gone PC-nuts, and it’s possible that PC insanity is contributing to a second wave of the HIV epidemic.

There are other things involved. Some HIV-negative partners of HIV-positive men are distressed because they are not HIV-positive too. They want to be HIV-positive so they can be the same as their lovers. Other HIV-negative men in long term relationships with HIV-positive men are sick and tired of worrying about getting it from their partners so they just want to get it over with.

Others want to be HIV-positive because they are lonely, and if they are positive, they can fit in with a whole new large crowd of HIV-positive men, many of whom have large organizations with quite a feel of camaraderie.

PC is covering up this bug-chasing and gift-giving thing by saying that it hardly even exists. That’s not so. It’s not a huge percentage of the gay population, but it is definitely out there.

Some HIV-negative men are even throwing “conversion parties,” where they invite up to 15 guys positive to come and gang bang them.

There are parties only for HIV-positive men and others only for HIV-negative men. But many of the sex clubs no longer test or inquire about your status if you go there, which seems irresponsible to me. Some men run party houses where they throw wild gay sex parties. They say, “Just assume that everyone here is HIV-positive.” That seems like a reasonable approach to take.

The interviews are striking. A number of guys say that of their sex partners, no one ever even asks if you are HIV-positive or HIV-negative. It’s seen as rude to ask or perhaps people just do not want to know.

The number of men barebacking (anal sex with no condoms) is estimated to be 80% by some interviewees. That would not surprise me one bit.

Some interviewees note that the anti-HIV messages are just not working, so we need to do something else. What else?

Who knows?

There is footage of a support group of middle aged gay men who are HIV-positive and also have developed heart conditions due to ART anti-HIV therapy. It is true that these drugs are toxic to the heart, however, HIV is also toxic to the heart, so there is not much of a choice there now, is there? These men are some of the most sane men in the whole footage. They think it is insane that any young men are seeking to get HIV or that people are so reckless as to not care whether they get it or not. I had a lot of admiration for these guys, who seemed to be some of the most mature and sane of all of them.

Gay men aged 18 now have a 50% chance of being HIV-positive by the time they are age 50. That is a pretty stunning figure. The rates for Black and Hispanic gay men have always been higher than for straight men, but no one knows why.

Here is a video about the second HIV epidemic from 1995. It is true that there has been a secondary HIV epidemic among gay men, but the rates are not nearly as high as in the first wave.

Actually the alarmists were wrong about the ever exploding HIV epidemic. HIV incidence (number of new infections per year) peaked in 1983 and has been declining ever since. The prevalence rate (percentage of people infected with HIV) peaked in 1993 and has been declining since, so prevention has had some good effects.

Women are notoriously paranoid of STD’s, especially HIV, and this is one thing that limits the spread of such things in the straight community. In a sense, straight women force straight men to act good, responsible, etc. In an all-male community, all of that goes out the window. The inhibitions of women are good for something after all.

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Filed under Culture, Gender Studies, Health, Homosexuality, Illness, Man World, Sex, Women

10 responses to “Bug Chasers and Gift Givers

  1. Mr. E2me

    I had heard of this practice years ago.
    Completely disgusted then, still disgusted now. I don’t particularly mind folks in the LGBT community, there are flakes at the edges of every society.

  2. Tulio

    This is so fuckin’ sick. Ugh. I can’t believe that one guy said he’s had 150 partners in six months. And not even using protection. It really goes to show what a society looks like where there are no guardians of sexual intercourse, only chasers. Women are the guardians. Gay men are chasers so the only limits to how much sex a man is getting is limited by how much free time he has to pursue it.

    I do think this kind of community makes gays at large look bad when most of them are probably nowhere near this flamboyant and irresponsible. In a funny way, a video like this may make the case in favor of gay marriage. Anything that gets these kind of AIDS spreading queens to settle down and be monogamous can’t be a bad thing.

  3. Robert, you friends Shawn here–you know, the guy that’s been commenting on your blogs for the past 6 years or so? 🙂

    Sorry off-topic but when are you going to write about the online dating scam? I’m not pushing you to write about it,and it’s fine with me if you don’t. Anyways, I made my first genuine foray into blogging recently about it, if you want to check it out. Here: http://itriedmatchdotcomexperience.blogspot.com

    What do you think?

  4. Oh, in regards to your post, one troubling thing is that a lot of gay males (e.g. Andrew Sullivan) simply refer to themselves is being “positive;” so, it almost sounds like a good thing. For example they will say “yeah, I’m positive.” Or, “are you positive or negative?”

  5. I made my above comment a little too fast. I should have read your whole post. You should really put “HIV” before the word “positive” or negative.”

  6. Holy crap! At around 9:15 in the video the gay guy is asked how many partners he has had in the last 6 months and he said about 1 per day!

    • Yes, and that was probably easy as pie. No doubt any nice looking gay guy in San Fransisco could easily have one partner per day for a 6 month period. It should not be much of a problem.

      How many straight men can have sex with a different woman a day for 6 months.

      Not too many!

      I have been accused of being gay myself for saying that sex is a lot easier to get if you are gay than if you are straight, but it is obviously true.

  7. Noneofmany

    As a gay man and nationalist this almost makes me want to cry.

    All I ever could have wanted from my society was to live in peace as long as I’m not disturbing the rest of society by obnoxiously challenging the heteronormitive structure of society, acting in appropriately, or asking for boons specifically made for child bearing couples that a childless couple don’t need.

    Instead we get these guys practically celebrating HIV on degenerate pride floats that look like something we should call the army on.


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