Young Gay Man Explores Unsafe Sex And The Bug-Chasing Scene In New Film

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 9.59.16 AMSal Bardo’s short film Chaser paints a picture of gay life that doesn’t exactly make me feel like waving a rainbow flag and proclaiming my pride.

His main character, Zach, is certainly on the run from something — his Orthodox Jewish family, perhaps that empty space next to him in bed at night.

He turns to the barebacking scene to find fulfillment, and in one way certainly gets his fill.

But it’s the doorman at the breeding party Zach attends (“No condoms, they’re rude.”) that ultimately sparks a real connection.

The film certainly raises some interesting questions about self destruction, isolation and escape, even drawing a parallel between bug chasing and self inflicted cutting.

Chaser will be released on DVD/VOD July 8. You can watch the complete NSFW film here.

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  • Cam

    So lets see, a film about a supposed situation that is so out of date even the Homophobes at NOM and FOX News aren’t even talking about it anymore.

    Was this film officially released and sanctioned by Brigham Young University or something?

  • masc4masc

    Uhhh bug-chasing isn’t an obsolete idea at all. And is there really a huge difference between outright bug-chasing and the nonchalant attitudes many gay men have when it comes to anonymous/NSA barebacking? There are arguably just different degrees of bug-chasing, the parties being the most extreme. The film seems to be more about self-destructive behavior in the gay community, of which there’s definitely no shortage. I find the cutting comparison very interesting too. Never thought of it that way but it’s definitely self-inflicted pain.

  • Tommysole

    There seems to a lot of self destructive behavior in the gay community and barebacking is the least of it.

  • Stache99

    @masc4masc: Except your filling in the holes to make your story fit. This so called bug chasing in an urban myth that used to be brought to us by the right wing phobes. Never was it proven though. That and gay men are child molesters.

  • Stache99

    @Tommysole: I think you’re talking about the cause. Barebacking is just one of the effects. I wonder if they’ll cover that in the movie. Doubt it.

  • Ihadtosayit

    Here are my thoughts about the short movie:
    The truth is many gay men have secret lives within secret lives within secret lives within secret lives .For far too many many it is like peeling an onion. We wear these happy faces but we do not share our lives with even our most trusted friends. Too many gay men still in 2014 compartmentalize various aspects of their lives.

  • Ihadtosayit

    1. Some gay men are not out (for a variety of reasons to friends, co-workers, family, etc.). For all of this push that we are normal we tell ourselves that our world will collapse if the wrong person/group found out. It is an understandable thought however it is the first crack in our facade. I recently had a conversation with a fellow co-worker (who is gay but hides it) after I started wearing my wedding ring. He said sharply, “Why make that announcement?”. I said it is my life and I am proud of, it took me a long time to get here with someone so I am not backing down.

  • Ihadtosayit

    2. Some gay men are HIV positive (because the truth is unless you are having sex with that person…it is not your business). Also we have lost the idea that it is SAFER sex. We think the ONLY way to get HIV is bareback sex. Unforeseen mistakes (condoms break, impaired judgment and the killer of misplaced trust). YES bareback sex is probably the highest reason today in 2014. I can’t tell how many friends have shared they trusted someone who lied about their status and their need to keep the relationship going for a variety of reasons.

    Also I can’t ignore the acceptance and endorsement of high gloss muscled bareback porn (Sean Cody and Corbin Fisher) vs. the stigma crushing Treasure Island Media; we are more polarized than ever. Also the drugs of today do not create that identify look..coupled with the sensation that “I should have known better” many are silent about their health to other partners.

  • Ihadtosayit

    The latest films out there are all dealing with AIDS providing a history lesson but the truth is HIV is happening now and the conditions are changing of how gay men are acquiring it. Many gay men do not see HIV as a “death sentence” and therefore it is manageable in their lives but rest assures there are many issues that are present with this diagnosis.

  • newfoundma

    Watching the scenes of this guy teach to students, and I gotta say: he is too damn sexy and should button up that chest hair. I would never get anything productive done if he was my teacher.

  • Jody

    While bug-chasing happens just enough to remain “a thing”, most HIV infections are by regular partners who don’t know their status.

    There are only two ways to block HIV from infecting a negative person, condoms or PrEP. There’s only one way for an HIV-positive person not to be infectious: regular retroviral medications that suppress HIV to undetectable levels.

    Bug chasers really aren’t how this virus continues to spread.

  • Qjersey

    Bugchasing is rare, HIV ambivalence (so if I get it, big deal) is rampant

  • hotboyvb81

    idiots are blowing the curve for the rest of us- let them die- better off without them!

  • Ihadtosayit

    the term is SAFER SEX…not safe sex…while people make choices…sex is a two way street and sometimes someone leads the other person blindly across.
    Imagine this:
    You both have been with your partner for 10 years
    You are pleased and decide to talk about not wearing condoms
    You and your partner go get tested together of which they are both negative
    Your partner has sex with someone (maybe a mutual friend who does not know his status because well he just does not) after this declaration that is “less than safe”…also the mutual friend is living in a box in a box in box keeping secrets from himself.
    He does not share the indiscretion with you because it was one time and “well you just can’t get it like that.”
    You continue to have unsafe sex under the guise that you are both negative and committed until HIV makes itself known to you both
    I strongly feel that that the majority of new infections happen this way and not the rampant sex with a stranger in a back room

  • masc4masc

    @Stache99: I do enjoy filling holes, but I’m not doing so here. Bug-chasing is more than urban legend. Google Doug Hitzel or watch The Gift. Dan Savage also addressed bug-chasing in Savage Love multiple times, so it’s hardly some slanderous idea contrived by republicans. Like I said, bug-chasing comes in different degrees. The breeding parties (which The Gift included an actual event and interviews with some of the attendees) are just bug-chasing in its most extreme form. Guys that are out doing lots of NSA barebacking with randoms from Grindr are bug-chasing. Guys (that don’t know their status) who use protection when they think they might be neg but bareback when they think they’re probably already infected are also bug-chasing. It’s all basically the same self-sabotaging behavior.

  • Paco

    @Ihadtosayit: I remember reading somewhere that the CDC estimated that 20 percent of HIV+ people in the US do not know they are infected. The more unprotected rampant back room sex you engage in will certainly increase your chances of infection. Wouldn’t it?

  • masc4masc

    @hotboyvb81: I agree 100 percent. They’re truly the deadweight of the gay community.

  • Ihadtosayit

    @Paco: DEFINITELY would increase your chances of acquiring HIV…

    However some gay men are sex addicts (because the greater gay culture is designed to exploit and enhance that). The gay culture promotes being sexually active first and being sexually responsible second in many cases….however this is not always true…it is up to the person to ALWAYS be responsible of SELF!!!

    Go ahead and look at your phone and/or computer see all the hook up apps or sites you have visited in the past week. How about your memberships and/or visiting of sex clubs/ circuit parties yeah because they raise money for HIV/AIDS research while promoting it at the same time…

  • Lvng1tor

    Bug Chasing is a real thing regardless of the ridiculous debates of how people become poz. It happens…being HIV is not something to aspire to or be sensationalized. It SUCKS. I am not ashamed of my poz status but I don’t want to see one more case. Specially not someone who is suffering from some instability where they desire it to happen. For anyone who would willingly infect someone for any reason you are are criminal and need therapy. Protect yourselves every time.

  • jonjct

    the coc*ktail therapy only extends a persons life an average of 8 years. those medications do not last forever.

    • Stache99

      @jonjct: Really? Can you please provide a link where you found this info.

  • CCTR

    What an interesting and relatively well done short film!

  • gaym50ish

    There is a difference between taking a risk by barebacking and DELIBERATELY trying to get infected, which is what has always been meant by “bug-chasing.”

    It has been termed a “growing phenomenon” by the Traditional Values Coalition and other conservative groups that like to characterize gays as deranged perverts. But most rumors about bug chasers and “bug parties” are just that — rumors. This is not a widespread phenomenon. The bug chasers and “gift givers” (the infected partners) represented a very small percentage of gay men, even at the height of the epidemic, and have virtually disappeared since then.

    Psychologists theorized that the desire to seroconvert was an anxiety disorder in which a person saw his own HIV infection as inevitable and just wanted to “get it over with” to relieve his fear. I have heard of a couple of gay porn stars who did that because they wanted to put the fear behind them and be the receivers of anal sex in bareback videos.

  • Ihadtosayit



    In general, maintaining a higher CD4 count promised significant extra years of life. Five years into ARV treatment, 35-year-old male patients with counts between 350 and 500 could expect to live to 77—and to 81 if their CD4 counts were higher than 500. On the flip side, those who fail to develop a suppressed viral load would lose 11 years of life expectancy. And people whose CD4 counts remain below 200 after five years on ARVs could expect to live only to 55 on average.

    • Stache99

      @Ihadtosayit: That’s good but that’s not what my main point was. I just get tired of people pulling shit out of their asses and calling it fact as in jonjct’s comment.

  • Ihadtosayit


    “It is naive to think that it is not going on,” said Vic Sorrell, community educator with the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program.

    Those who purposely contract the HIV virus are condom fatigued, looking for acceptance through the illness or tired of fearing testing every six months, he said. Often, they are mentally ill or drug dependent, experts say.

    “Bug chasers are people trying to reach for the highest high,” said Donald J. Alcendor, an HIV researcher at Meharry Medical College and a Vanderbilt faculty member. “Couples sometimes want to maintain their relationship. [Others] are promiscuous and don’t want to stop.”

    Most who study the HIV/AIDS epidemic downplay the practice as so small as to be of little significance.

  • jonjct

    @Stache99: there is a whole lot of science on the subject of medication success/failure and I do not have all the latest thinking on the topic at my fingertips. My information came from David Ho, the researcher who said in a PBS film “the age of aids” that meds work in 50% of those who take them and they extend the patient’s life about 100 months longer than taking no meds. it is a two part series and i remember his statements were made in the second half of the film. btw, the film is great, so really, just watch the whole thing. i am no expert on meds, but for me the takeaway from that PBS film is that the world has lost this battle. unless we can find a way to destroy or modify the CCR5 receptors (which keep HIV out of your system) the virus will continue to win.

    • Stache99

      @jonjct: “i am no expert on meds” Yes. That’s abundantly obvious.

  • Ihadtosayit

    @Stache99: Agreed…facts are important here and small comments to enflame are NOT…many people will live their life with HIV as compared to before….

  • masc4masc

    @gaym50ish: You start off saying bug-chasing isn’t real, and then you describe an example of bug-chasing. Porn stars aren’t the only ones doing it though. There are lots of regular guys that have totally given up on staying negative because they don’t feel it’s possible for a sexually-active gay male. Frequent barebacking (while fully aware of the HIV rates amongst gay men) and bug-chasing are not that different at all. It’s the same “let me just get it over with” mentality at the root of both. Apathy in its clearest form.

  • barkomatic

    We gays love, love, love posts like this because we get to saddle up on our high horses and condemn others in righteous outrage. It’s more addictive than meth.

  • cvdixon29

    @Lvng1tor: Thank You sir for your response! It’s the only one on here that made sense!!

  • vive

    Conflating condomless sex with bug chasing is misguided and borders on homophobia, since nobody has called straight sex without condoms, which pretty much all straight people have, bug chasing in this moralistic and judgmental way. Bug chasing implies a desire to be infected, which is exceedingly rare. Almost almost all gay men have sex without condoms some of the time, most often in relationships, and they certainly don’t seek infection.

  • jonjct

    @Stache99: I understand this i not what you want to hear, and probably is frightening for you, but i will NOT be first in line to go up against Dr. David Ho. perhaps you are expert enough, but, as i already said, i am no expert on medications. HE is an expert, and i believe what he says. and yes, so far we are losing the war on AIDS. unless you know differently.

    • Stache99

      @jonjct: Actually, it wasn’t David Ho that said that. It came from a Brazilian Dr. (Pedro Chequer) who said the survive-ability on meds was around a 100 months. That would make sense since the video was made in 2006.

      Here’s the series anyways. Although dated it was interesting none the less.

  • vive

    @johnjct, I think your information is rather outdated, since it contradicts several studies published in recent years. You can easily inform yourself with readily available online journal sources, instead of cherry picking one outdated dissenting opinion that suits your prejudices.

  • Stache99

    @Stache99: Actually I take that back. He said that it should be over a 100 months.

  • Lvng1tor

    @cvdixon29: Thank you, that was very nice of you to say.

  • jonjct

    Denial works, doesn’t it?

  • LuckyboyLA

    @jonct Denial, huh? Then explain 100mos and me. POA since 1984, on meds since Jan 1990. That’ll be 388 mos this New Years. Guess my personal state of Denial has a pretty strong placebo effect. Or what’s your explanation? Some ‘weird’ anomaly? What about the thousands just like me? We’re actually pretty unremarkable. Just that no one ever hears about us as we chug along going about our lives w/o complaints. Sure it changed my life, but I still had and have one. It’s not the worst thing that’s happened to me. Life has more it can always throw your way.

  • LuckyboyLA

    oops, that’s POZ. I can’t type

  • Geeker

    Who funded this film, Treasure Island Media?

  • siltor67

    whatever the subject matter, this movie was stupid. glad i saw it for free

  • remyfacade

    @Tommysole: Barbacking is the least?…where are you getting your info from

  • remyfacade

    I’m willing to bet that the bulk of you who are being so negative have not even seen the film. I saw it and it was good and relevant for today.

Comments are closed.