Bugchasing is a slang term for the practice of pursuing sexual intercourse with HIV infected individuals in order to contract HIV. Individuals engaged in this activity are referred to as Bugchasers. Bugchasers may seek HIV infection for a variety of reasons.
Bugchasers seek sexual partners who are HIV positive for the purpose of having unprotected sex and becoming HIV positive; giftgivers are HIV positive individuals who comply with the bugchaser's efforts to become infected with HIV.
Bugchasers indicate various reasons for this activity. Some bugchasers engage in the activity for the excitement inherent in pursuing such a dangerous activity, but do not implicitly desire to contract HIV. Some researchers suggest that the behavior may stem from a "resistance to dominant heterosexual norms and mores" due to a defensive response by gay men to repudiate stigmatization and rejection by society.
Some people consider bugchasing "intensely erotic" and the act of being infected as the "ultimate taboo, the most extreme sex act left." A number of people who are HIV negative and in a relationship with someone who is HIV positive seek infection as a way to remain in the relationship, particularly when the HIV positive partner may wish to break up to avoid infecting the HIV negative partner.
Some workers in the US HIV community report that a number of younger people seek infection as a way to receive benefits, a "free ride," because they would qualify to receive Section 8, Social Security and other benefits from getting infected with HIV.Some contend that this behaviour stems from feelings of inevitability towards HIV among the gay community and the empowerment of choosing when to contract the virus.
Others have suggested that some people who feel lonely desire the nurturing community that supports persons with AIDS.
By design, bug chasing involves bareback sex, but members of the bareback subculture are not necessarily bugchasers. The difference is intent:
“In reviewing the scarce unpublished and published materials on bugchasing, as well as general healthcare speculations, a common theme appears- the lumping of bug chasers with barebackers...Although these two groups share some of the same practices, namely unprotected anal intercourse (UAI), there are distinctions that differentiate bug chasing...even though all bug chasers are indeed barebackers, not all barebackers are bugchasers.
Imagine my shock in here in Jamaica where we are more conservative to a point terms of sexuality even in same gender loving terms to hear or see someone express only they wish to be penetrated by a HIV+ man bare backed with sperm left in his rectum, this is the face of persistent social marketing both from the national level through the ministry of health and other private institutions and non governmental agencies.
The young man in a recent online group chat and subsequent one on one exchange was clear in his desire. He said he likes bareback sex and wished he could be in an orgy typed scenario with several HIV+ but healthy looking men as he feels he can survive the infection non the less, this is even after my trying to explain that there are different strains of HIV and that getting multiple infections can lead to a faster deterioration in health.
According to Wikipedia in the media there have been some references to this practice:
HIV positive man Ricky Dyer, who investigated the apparent bug chasing phenomenon for a 2006 BBC programme, I love being HIV+, said that an air of complacency about the realities of living with the virus may be one reason why infection rates have been rising. However, the BBC also described bugchasing as more internet fantasy than reality, saying that, "Dyer finds that the overwhelming majority of the talk is pure fantasy." The article also quotes Will Nutland, head of health promotion at Terrence Higgins Trust, as saying, "The concepts of 'gift giving' and 'bug chasers' are definitely based more in fantasy than reality" as well as Deborah Jack, chief executive of the National AIDS Trust saying, "There is very little evidence of people trying to get infected with HIV."
In the Showtime series Queer as Folk a former student of Professor Ben Bruckner, asked Ben to infect him with HIV, wanting to experience "the gift." Ben refuses and writes a novel about the incident.
In the NBC series ER, season 7 episode 13 Dr Malucci treats a gay man who wants to contract HIV from his positive partner. Malucci asked they HIV- patient if he is 'bug chasing'
A character named Billy in a book by Dakota Chase called Changing Jamie is a bug chaser and attends a bug party in order to get "the gift" believing the man he has fallen in love with will accept him. He does test positive later in the novel, only to discover at the end of the book what a mistake it was.