Writer/director Daniel Bort made a 2003 short film on the subject called Bugchaser, which premièred at the 16th Annual Austin Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and was shot mainly in New York sex clubs.
In an interview with the Austin Chronicle, he explained: "The matter-of-fact declarations of a string of articulate, apparently nonsensical people...affected me tremendously.
However, the BBC also described bugchasing as more internet fantasy than reality, saying that, "Dyer finds that the overwhelming majority of the talk is pure fantasy." The article also quotes Will Nutland, head of health promotion at Terrence Higgins Trust, as saying, "The concepts of 'gift giving' and 'bug chasers' are definitely based more in fantasy than reality" as well as Deborah Jack, chief executive of the National AIDS Trust, who said, "There is very little evidence of people trying to get infected with HIV." In the Showtime series Queer as Folk a former student of Professor Ben Bruckner asked Ben to infect him with HIV, wanting to experience "the gift".
Ben refuses and writes a short story about the incident. Malucci treats a gay man who wants to contract HIV from his positive partner.
In reviewing the scarce unpublished and published materials on bugchasing, as well as general healthcare speculations, a common theme appears — the lumping of bug chasers with barebackers....
Although these two groups share some of the same practices, namely unprotected anal intercourse (UAI), there are distinctions that differentiate bug chasing..though all bug chasers are indeed barebackers, not all barebackers are bugchasers.
As many "bugchasers" appear to be seeking the community and sympathy that HIV individuals experience, comparisons have been drawn with Munchausen syndrome.
They explored the emerging trend of gay men who eschew condoms and the development of a barebacking subculture.
Barebackers conceptually have the same motivation as heterosexual couples that use non-barrier methods of birth control (more enjoyable sex), and, in contrast with bugchasers, do not deliberately seek HIV-infected partners.
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.
Some researchers suggest that the behavior may stem from a "resistance to dominant heterosexual norms and mores" due to a defensive response by gay men to repudiate stigmatization and rejection by society.
People who are HIV negative and in a relationship with someone who is HIV-positive may seek infection as a way to remain in the relationship, particularly when the HIV-positive partner may wish to break up to avoid infecting the HIV negative partner.
Bugchasers indicate various reasons for this activity.