The phenomenon of HIV Bug chasers, Gift Givers (Gifters), and the implication for the blood supply

hivThe American Press Association recently dropped the word “homophobia” from its style book for journalists so writers can now address gay-sensitive topics without being accused of hatred or insanity. The FDA is considering whether to allow gay men to donate blood in the future.  The current MSM deferral policy is stated here.  The agency has received pressure from certain Congressmen and the American Medical Association to reverse the gay blood ban, which they consider discriminatory. This might remind some of the shameful days when blood donations were segregated as white or black.  But today the issue is about statistics and the limitations of HIV screening which the FDA states is not 100% accurate.

 Groups like the American Red Cross depend on behavioral self-reporting by donors. Inviting gay men, even monogamous ones, to donate blood is a bad idea for the public blood supply because their partners may cheat.  Unfortunately, the safe sex/movement has been a failure in the gay community according to newsources.  Most MSMs prefer and practice barebacking (BB/unprotected anal sex) whether they are tops or bottoms.  One destructive gay subculture connecting online and meeting up are Bug chasers and Gift Givers/breeders/seeders. Bugchasing is slang for people who seek to become infected with HIV.  Gifters are HIV-positive people who are interested infecting bugchasers.  It’s a mutual decision between these participants.

A 6-year old documentary, The Gift, has been posted on Youtube in 6 parts (116+K views) and in full by TransParanormal.  Another documentary filmed in the UK, I Love Being HIV+, has also been posted on Youtube. A short creative 15-minute film called Chaser has been posted by the producer, Sal Bardo. on Youtube.  The protagonist goes to a bareback party and is told, “No condoms, it’s rude.” Chaser has been viewed online by over 32,000 people. People who engage in risky sexual behavior will donate their blood for altruistic, monetary reasons, or even sick reasons. Because the FDA states that screening is not 100% accurate, a small amount of blood-borne pathogens must be entering the blood supply from many sources. Do we want to add a new source known to practice risky sex?

According the VA, 80% of their patients have not been tested for HIV!  Nationally the VA cared for 26,784 veterans with HIV in 2013.  One should not assume risky behavior since they could have been exposed to the virus via transmission modes such as jet injectors and other unsafe injection practices of the past.  But still, homosexuals actively serving in the military should not donate blood either. Learning about bug chasing on Youtube was an emotional experience for me but it is important to know about.  How could anyone want HIV or disrespect themselves by attending a cult-like HIV sex orgies?  Bacchanals have been a part of human history from the beginning but frenzied parties dedicated to a virus god? I haven’t seen or read any evidence that HIV-positive status is a status symbol in the majority of homosexuals.  However, if you know any young gays that you can talk openly with, let them know that you value them and hope that they’ll stay far away from this destructive subculture and treat themselves with dignity instead.  You could save a life. They all know about this craziness but may be surprised that you do. The FDA’s ban is about viruses and blood only and not a negative judgement about persons per se.  I hope the science will trump political correctness with regard to the FDA’s decision about donors.

hiv chart

CDC graphic

2015 Update:  Further research into the issue of blood safety in the United States has led me be reverse my opinion.  Getting HIV or HCV from a blood transfusion is an extremely rare event.  Any healthy person should be encouraged to donate blood regardless of sexual orientation.  There are numerous safeguards in place so I’d urge all people with healthy blood to donate.  The American Legion is one place that organizes drives at their posts so that is one option.

About Laura

NW Vermont.
This entry was posted in Guest authors, HCV Health and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.