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...[Carlos explains] how much he wants HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. His eyes light up as he says that the actual moment of transmission, the instant he gets HIV, will be "the most erotic thing I can imagine." He seems like a typical thirty-two-year-old man, but, in fact, he has a secret life. Carlos is chasing the bug...
...Carlos is part of an intricate underground world that has sprouted, driven almost completely by the Internet, in which men who want to be infected with HIV get together with those who are willing to infect them. The men who want the virus are called "bug chasers," and the men who freely give the virus to them are called "gift givers." While the rest of the world fights the AIDS epidemic and most people fear HIV infection, this subculture celebrates the virus and eroticizes it. HIV-infected semen is treated like liquid gold. Carlos has been chasing the bug for more than a year in a topsy-turvy world in which every convention about HIV is turned upside down. The virus isn't horrible and fearsome, it's beautiful and sexy -- and delivered in the way that is most likely to result in infection. In this world, the men with HIV are the most desired, and the bug chasers will do anything to get the virus -- to "get knocked up," to be "bred" or "initiated into the brotherhood."
Bugchasing (or bug chasing) is a LGBT slang term for a subculture of gay men who actively pursue HIV infection.
Bugchasers seek sexual partners who are HIV positive for the purpose of having unprotected sex and sero-converting; giftgivers (also gift givers) are HIV positive men who comply with the bugchaser's efforts to become infected with HIV. Both are widely disdained and stigmatized in the gay community...
What are bug parties?
Bug parties are sex parties often ranging from a few to as much as 30 people. Unsafe sex with every participant at the party is encouraged. There are several variations of bug parties. At some, there is one member of the "orgy" that is HIV positive. Only this individual and the host know his positive status. The remaining participants know that there is an infected person in the room, but do not know his identity. The participants then partake in a night usually filled with alcohol, drugs and of course unsafe sex.
In other variations of a bug party, there is one person who is not infected with HIV, however the other participants are or may be. Every one is aware of the person who disease free. The HIV negative person then allows the infected guys to have unprotected anal sex with him.
Why do people participate in bug parties?
Many psychologists theorize that participation in bug parties is actually an anxiety disorder where the non-infected individuals fear getting HIV so greatly that they would rather contract it and free themselves of the anxiety of living in fear. These parties are also seen as a sort of club for those living with HIV. Infecting a HIV negative and willing participant initiates them into their world. Some people also engage in unprotected anal sex (or barebacking) as the fear for AIDS dangerously dwindles.
"The Gift" from filmmaker Louise Hogarth is a documentary about gay men who purposely contract HIV. According to Rolling Stone, one character in the film admits "I was relieved. I didn't have to worry. Do I need to be careful -- not any more." Yet another willing 21-year-old regrets his choice. "I've made a terrible mistake and there's no fixing that. There is no benefit in this and that's what needs to be said."