It’s the biggest question involving bug chasing and it only has three letters — why? Why would someone want to get infected with HIV? The virus that currently has no cure can result in serious health implications and will eventually lead to death if medication is not taken to stop the virus entering the AIDS stage. Why is actually a simple three letter question, but the answer isn’t as simple, because the reason can be unique to each person. The answer could consist of one reason, a combination of reasons, or there might not be a reason that can be defined.
Some of the possible reasons will be explored in more detail, but it’s worth noting that some people might not consider being a bug chaser a choice. One of the factors relates to ‘mind programming’ and some people I have spoken with describe feeling naturally connected to the virus, where it’s constantly in their mind and they don’t feel as though it’s a choice. It’s possible there are factors influencing their thinking, but it’s important to consider there very well might be something built into them that does make a person feel this way naturally and makes it seem like less of a choice.
To delve deeper into this possibility, a comparison we could explore is one that relates to sexuality. Sexuality used to be much simpler; gay, bisexual, lesbian, straight (pretty much). Now there are many other terms that define a person’s sexuality, but each of these terms originates to one simple source — that each person’s thinking has been programmed to feel an attraction toward a certain person, whether they are male, female, both or neither. In the case of love and attraction, a person can “feel” an attraction towards someone, like a magnet. A person can try overriding the way they think by shifting their thinking, which then makes this more of a choice, but the emphasis here is more about each of us having a built in “magnet” or compass that helps guide us without having to think too much and it’s this feeling that some bug chasers have used to describe a natural attraction to the virus.
There are some bug chasers who have described other reasons that fall into the “making a choice” category. This is where things can become more complicated, because we all walk different paths on this planet and there are many complexities that give each of us individual thinking and because of this, there is no single answer to the question. Below are a number of reasons that have been described by bug chasers that resonate with them when it comes to their bug chasing influences.
Some people want to feel like they are part of a community, so they figure that being part of the HIV community is something that fits this criteria. There are many HIV charities and community groups that are well connected, with support groups, social get-togethers and interaction that brings people together through a common theme, which is HIV.
There are judgemental and close-minded people throughout the world who hold the belief that all gay people have HIV or AIDS and if they don’t, then they should have the disease and can be vocal with their views. After hearing people continually saying this or reading comments from people with views along these lines can condition the mindset into believing this is real, which could be a catalyst.
It’s a well-known fact that there is a higher number of HIV-positive people involving men who have sex with men. Becoming immersed in the stories about HIV and hearing from others who are HIV-positive can generate a curiosity or interest about what it’s like to be HIV-positive and some people want to personally experience what it’s like.
People can be driven by fantasies and follow their instincts, which can sometimes take them to places where they haven’t been before. Some might take note of where they are at and hold back, but for others, they want to ride the emotions and see where it takes them and understand why they feel the way they feel.
Bug chasers feel the need to become HIV-positive, but will most likely take medication before the virus reaches the AIDS stage. There are others who might be feeling suicidal or want to die, so they want to become HIV-positive and let the virus take full control of their body until it overwhelms them and completely consumes their life, regardless of the financial, health or social impacts.
Worrying about condoms or having conversations about Sexually Transmitted Infections can be discussions some men don’t want to have, so knowing they are HIV-positive opens up the ability in their minds to have unprotected sex with whomever they want, without having to feel guilty or worrying about the implications. Some have described this freedom as giving them a sense of relief and being able to breathe again.
In the early days of the epidemic, there were no medications or treatments able to help those who contracted HIV, which then meant the virus progressed to AIDS and millions of people died. Those who lost friends and/or family to AIDS were sometimes left with survivor guilt, which overpowered them and ultimately made them feel compelled to end up experiencing a similar fate.
There are some gay men who associate being HIV-positive with a part of being gay and some of this thinking is the result of people believing that all gay people have HIV or AIDS. Because some gay men have friends who are HIV-positive, they feel as though becoming HIV-positive will result in them living a life that is equal to that of their friends.
The saying “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side” is something people can be curious about. Gay men can often be lonely and the feeling of loneliness can leave them searching for something different. Sometimes this can bring them to the point where it’s considered that HIV-positive men are part of a tight-knit community and it’s worth signing up to becoming a member by contracting the virus.
There are different levels of power in this world and quite often it’s the view that the rich hold the power, whilst those who are less wealthy have less or no power at all. Being HIV-positive gives someone the ability to transmit the virus to another person, which means that they can use their penis and bodily fluid as weapon. This can put someone who wants to transmit the virus to another person in a powerful position, as they have the ability to change the lives of others.
Many bug chasers in the late 1990s and early 2000s considered relief as the reason why they became bug chasers. Medications and treatments were limited at the time, which meant barebackers potentially exposed themselves to the virus each time they had unprotected sex, which sometimes created internal conflicts and worry. Some men chose to intentionally become HIV-positive so they were in control of when it happened and no longer had to worry about the unknown once they knew they had become infected.
Sexual intercourse in the heterosexual world can lead to pregnancy, with the sperm from the male being able to fertilize the egg of the female to create life. Some gay men feel connected to the reproduction process as a way of mimicking pregnancy, with the viral sperm infecting the other person. Over time, the heterosexual pregnancy creates life in the form of a baby, with the homosexual version creating life in the form of a virus, which continues to replicate as it lives inside the person after they have been infected.
Sex is meant to be exciting, but we each have different levels of sexual desire, with some associating the higher level of risk with a more intense sexual pleasure. This can be the opposite for some men who feel relief as a result of being infected, so those who seek pleasure from the risk know they are playing with fire each time they have unprotected sex with someone who could be HIV-positive and have a detectable viral load.
HIV-positive guys sometimes have the persona of being more sexual and having a stronger sex drive than guys who are HIV-negative. This can vary based on each person, but there can be an interest in whether the virus can lead to higher levels of sexual pleasure, so some guys are willing to give it a try for themselves because they want to experience higher levels of sexual intensity.
Feeling connected to other people who have something in common can lead to a social connection. For HIV-positive men, having the same virus puts them on an equal level in terms of where they are at sexually, which can give them a better insight into the workings and improve social aspects to bring people closer together through the virus. People have HIV-positive family or friends might aspire to be just like them.
In some countries, being HIV-positive can mean that people qualify for disability or receive financial assistance because of their HIV status. This may not be common these days due to medical advances that can help HIV-positive people live a relatively normal life, but there might still be some benefits that make people think it’s worthwhile reaching the point where it can begin providing them with financial benefits.
As you can see from the various possibilities and scenarios, there is no simple answer as to why someone is a bug chaser. Some bug chasers may have one primary reason for chasing, while others may have various reasons, with fragments from several of the possibilities driving them. Sometimes the simplest questions cannot be given a basic answer, which reinforces the fact that bug chasing is complicated and involves many levels of emotions and sometimes bug chasers find it difficult to pinpoint the exact reason that resonates the strongest for them.
Please share your thoughts about which reason resonates the most with you as a bug chaser or if you are curious about bug chasing by leaving a comment below. If there are other reasons you feel connected to the virus that aren’t already mentioned, please share more in the comments below so further reasons can be added to the list. It’s also important to consider that the reason is personal to each bug chaser, so there should be no pressure trying to figure out which reason applies.
It might take a long time to figure out the reason you are most connected with and you don’t actually need to have a reason. People trying to figure out the reasoning behind bug chasing who might not be bug chasers themselves would expect you to have a reason and might be confused if you can’t give them one. But the truth is that it’s none of their business what your reason is and whether you have one. You might not have one, or you might have one or several reasons, but if you don’t have one, that’s perfectly fine, just as long as you know where you are at and you are comfortable with yourself.
Featured Photo: Arek Socha from Pixabay.
Article ID: CC007
Version Control: 1.0 – September 26, 2021: Original article published.