I have recently watched a documentary called "I Love Being HIV Positive", in which an HIV+ gay man comes across the term 'bug chasers'. 'Bug chasers' are men who seek out HIV+ men for unprotected sex, with the sole purpose of contracting the horrible disease themselves. I was so disgusted with the thought of someone intentionally infecting themselves that I had to stop watching for a bit.
The filmmaker baits these bug chasers with an online ad to get to the bottom of this trend, what he finds is that most of these men are just playing out sexual fantasies and disappear when asked to meet in person. There are a few cases of men actually following through with this horrible plan and there are a few reasons that I can think of why they would want to do such a thing:
1. They are not fully educated about the disease and/or they are minimizing the negative effects.

2. They want the attention and people to care for them, 'oh poor Gary, I’ll take care of you'.

3. They want to be on disability and have the state take care of them.

4. Or, they have a death wish.
The thing that bothers me about the last point (putting aside that suicide is never the answer) is that there are so many more ways to kill yourself that don't involve years of suffering. I will never forget the two individuals that came into my Intro Human Sexuality class in University who had contracted HIV; their lives have been filled with medication, side effects, and near death experiences. I cannot conceive of someone wanting that life.
What needs to happen is a resurgence of the campaigns of the 80's, it was almost a scare tactic to get young people to use condoms. While I do not agree with scare tactics, I think something needs to be done to increase the education to the public about HIV and AIDS. STI and AIDS education is present in schools, but education needs to go beyond the schools to reach adults who may not have been made aware of the perils of unprotected sex.
For those of you who wish to watch this documentary, it can be found here: http://watchdocumentary.com/watch/i-love-being-hiv-video_07b858486.html


~Janice

*Originally posted on April 24, 2012*