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The emergence of barebacking (intentional unprotected anal intercourse in situations where there is risk of HIV infection) among men who have sex with men (MSM) has been partially attributed to a decrease in HIV-related concerns due to improved anti-retroviral treatment.
It is important to understand the level of concern these men have regarding HIV infection because it can affect their interest in risk reduction behaviors as well as their possible engagement in risk reduction interventions.
Regarding motivations for seeking infection the most frequent response was seeing becoming infected as a thrill, hot, or erotic, as well as seeing the semen through a similar lens.
Few respondents identified "getting it over with" as a motivating factor.
Bob Cabaj as saying that as many as 25 percent of new HIV infections a year (about ten thousand people) were from men who had contracted it on purpose. Marshall Forstein, the medical director of mental health and addiction services at Boston's Fenway Community Health, was reported to have said that the clinic regularly saw bug-chasers and warned that it was growing.
Steven Weinstein, then editor of the New York Blade, an established gay newspaper, called the article "less than truthful" and attributed it to a Rolling Stone editor (whom he did not name) recently recruited from a competing "lad mag" who wished to make a sensation for himself.
Bugchasers indicate various reasons for this activity.
Some bugchasers engage in the activity for the excitement and intimacy inherent in pursuing such a dangerous activity, but do not implicitly desire to contract HIV.
This research was supported by a grant (R01 MH69333; PI: Alex Carballo-Diéguez, Ph.
Bugchasing has, more recently, been taken more seriously by medical health promotion bodies, such as the Centers for Disease Control, which hosted a workshop on the topic, hosted by Dr.
Michael Graydon of Carleton University, Ottawa, at the 2004 National STD Prevention Conference.
They also noted through their qualitative research that some barebackers were in search of HIV. Richard Tewksbury was one of the first researchers to acknowledge bug chasing online and that bug chasers were using the Internet to assist their seroconversive efforts. Michael Roloff attempted to quantitatively explain why bug chasers chase HIV.
In his more recent research, he gave a strong analysis of what bug chasers and gift givers resemble in their behaviors, attitudes, and demographics. Parsons concluded that bug chasing and gift giving might occur among a select few individuals. They claimed that individuals who look for HIV are more likely sex addicts. Le Blanc (2007) conducted an exploratory study involving survey responses from self identified bug chasers, one of the first published studies involving direct responses from this identified group.