Bugchasing, the Intentional Contraction of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Bugchasing is seen by some as a form of self-harm, and by others as an assertive way of taking control of something they already know will happen. In this article we explore this movement.

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In life, there are all kinds of people, some of them purposely looking for possible harm. Bugchasing is an example of this way of exposing oneself to danger, consciously seeking this exposure.

The bugchasing is a movement to which more and more followers are added. It is a practice in which people intentionally contract sexually transmitted diseases.

Throughout this article, we will tell you more about this practice. You can discover with us what it is about, why it is a movement and what is the motivation of the people involved.

Bugchasing, what is it?

Bugchasing is a movement and subculture, born in the late nineties in the United States. The name comes from the English, and would come to mean in Spanish “bug hunt”, the bug or bug would be the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The hunter or bugchacer is the one who is trying to get the virus.

Those who give the bug are called gifgivers. That is, to those who transmit the virus. Then, there are people who are carriers and who get infected, who through a mutual agreement carry out practices in favor of the transmission of the virus. Now, what is causing the curiosity of this practice? What causes impact is that both the carrier and the infected know in a premeditated way that they are going to infect or get HIV, a virus that brings great risks to health.

So, it is a practice that, although dangerous, is voluntary. It is not yet established if the people who wish to do it do so under manipulation. Anyway, the bugchasing has already caused the alarm to turn on in different health agencies.

What is the motivation of belonging to the movement?

The motivations can be diverse and to a large extent will depend on the uniqueness of each person. However, it has been observed that the motivation of some people could be associated with:

  • Fear. Those who want to get HIV and are associated with this movement, claim that being infected by this virus is something inevitable, then they prefer that it is under their control and, therefore, they decide when to contract it.
  • See HIV as a medically manageable virus. Several investigations show that this reduces the impact of the perception of what it could be to live with HIV. This is suggested by Gabriela H. Breitfeller and Amar Kanekar in the review of the literature they called “Intentional transmission of HIV among men who have sex with men: a review”.
  • Eroticism. Those who seek to become infected perceive the risk of being infected as erotic. In addition, they feel that safe sex removes the possibility of experiencing improvised sexual acts. And, those who infect feel erotic the fact of infecting someone with their virus.
  • Loneliness. Many HIV negative men feel they have been left behind as lovers. And, many HIV positive people also feel the burden of loneliness to have a virus. These reasons motivate both parties to enter the bugchasing.
  • Homophobic culture. It could be an answer to the culture of homophobia that has stigmatized homosexuals. Especially HIV positive, marginalizing them.

Also, there are theories that this behavior is associated with the personality of the subject. Even in some studies it has been seen that some people associated with this movement show interest in activities such as: scatophilia, urination, exhibitionism and dependency traits.

Why is Bugchasing a movement?

We speak of a movement because it is a group of people who have common interests, and who promote practices with a common thread. So, it is not that a person is interested in becoming infected or in simply transmitting. It is a group of people who seek to have sex to contract HIV, and who promote this practice.

The people involved in the bugchasing, claim their free choice in unprotected sexual practices, and are reluctant to see what they do as a result of a sexual deviation. However, since it is a practice that puts health at risk, several investigations are under way, either to launch prevention strategies or to answer the reasons for this behavior.

Currently, this practice is found around the world, and it is spreading more and more. Even, through social networks, people who wish to belong or who are already part of this movement are contacted.