When you watch a documentary, the intention is to learn something about a particular subject based on information that is factual. If you would like to watch a documentary about bug chasing hoping to be informed from a neutral standpoint, I would not recommend the documentary recently released by Channel 4 that was produced by Future Studios, as this 20 minute documentary provides some insight into bug chasing, including a selection of facts that are overshadowed by a significant amount of bias that will most likely lead to a large percentage of viewers ridiculing those who are gay or HIV-positive and create stigma due to the way this documentary was presented.

Channel 4 is a publicly owned British free-to-air public broadcast television channel owned and operated by Channel Four Television Corporation that receives no public funding and is funded entirely by its commercial activities, including advertising. Future Studios is a production company based in London that makes documentaries and factual TV for Netflix, Channel 4, the BBC, Snap Originals and others. The producer of this documentary admitted on film to infiltrating online communities to find bug chasers and learn more about bug chasing, and shared that it was difficult to find bug chasers and gift givers, due to the small percentage of people who do actually chase and gift, yet when the presenter did find 2 people to talk to, he admitted to being disturbed by how open and honest they were.

“Bug Chasers: The Men Who Want HIV” was released by Channel 4 Documentaries via their YouTube Channel on March 8, 2024 and is presented by HIV-activist Nathaniel Hill. Nathaniel revealed in the documentary that he became HIV-positive at age 16 following a sexual encounter in a church yard, which would have been at a time before PrEP became available in the United Kingdom. Being infected with a lifelong virus at such a young age would understandably have affected the presenter’s mental wellbeing, which still appears to be the case due to the tears and him breaking down during the production and as such, it would be naturally difficult for him to remain impartial, as he’s too close to the subject and it’s a very personal issue for him.

As many HIV-positive people know, the stigma surrounding HIV can be consistently intense, even in this day when more information is known about HIV/AIDS, such as the virus being untransmittable when a person is undetectable and there’s also medication available for those who want to protect themselves from becoming infected with HIV if they choose to. It may have seemed like a great idea for someone who became HIV-positive unintentionally to present a documentary about those who want to become HIV-positive intentionally, but when the presenter appears to be still affected by what happened to him several years ago, it’s going to be difficult for this person to maintain journalistic objectivity, which is what has happened in this case.

Another issue is the length of the documentary. Bug chasing is a very complex issue, so a 20 minute documentary is not even going to scratch the surface of something that involves a lot of emotion and thought processes. Bug chasers don’t just wake up one day saying they want to become a bug chaser and go out later that same day seeking the virus, they will often consider why they feel this way and research this over a significant period of time (sometimes years) to help them understand themselves before they even consider such a thing. For this reason, those involved with producing the documentary missed an opportunity to provide more information about HIV, why some people desire the virus and being able to explore a deeper insight into bug chasing and gift giving, even though the production team had access to a number of people who were able to provide this insight.

Many bug chasers use Curious Chaser to help them understand themselves better, but the producers decided to use small portions of this website to add controversy to their documentary. They failed to include or acknowledge other information from the articles or forum threads here that include important information on the subject and instead chose a couple of posts to help sensationalise the issue to support their agenda. When you’ve got a plethora of forum posts (currently over 7,500), with many of these threads providing information giving a better understanding into bug chasing and instead chose to feature a couple of posts to support the viewpoint the producers took the documentary in shows reckless journalism, yet this is one of the most important tools the media will use to promote and market themselves.

As Channel 4 is a British public broadcast service that derives their income from advertising, they need to attract an audience, which puts pressure on the producers to make content that will captivate an audience, so to do this, they need to explore subjects that can be controversial, which will attract attention and create a discussion that will lead to more attention to keep the advertisers happy and to keep the establishment funded and those within the establishment employed. This happens at the expense of others and makes it more difficult for the broadcaster to provide quality productions that explore subjects based on full facts and not just a selection of facts overshadowed by a significant amount of bias.

The 2 people who appeared in this documentary answered questions honestly and were most likely hoping that the documentary would be presented in a respectful and neutral manner, which the producer indicated “would take place in a safe and non-judgmental/stigma free environment”. I’m sure these people were also disappointed by how the documentary was presented and may now feel like victims of the media. I will say this again: it’s difficult for a person who has been deeply affected by HIV, who is an HIV-activist to present a documentary like this to consider the pros and cons of bug chasing and present the facts in an impartial manner so the audience can consider complete information and not just selected segments of information.

The viewers of this documentary will likely have responses of disgust towards gay people and those who are HIV-positive, not only bug chasers or gift givers due to the way this documentary was presented, so the presenter has actually done a disservice to those in his own community through his involvement in this documentary even though the presenter stated that he was trying to smash stigma. By trying to highlight something without presenting all the facts to viewers, those watching will form an opinion based on what they have seen, which is a problem and it makes me wonder what the intention of the presenter was with this documentary, especially when others were interviewed and their contributions were not included in the documentary.

In addition to this, Channel 4 Documentaries released a further documentary on March 15, 2024 called “I Contracted HIV on Purpose”, which involves 3 people intensely questioning a gift giver, again making a further spectacle of HIV-positive people, which gives an opportunity for these people to spew disgust in the direction of the person who was trying to be honest with them. I stopped watching this partway through due to the agenda Channel 4 seems to have about bug chasers and gift givers at this present time. I urge all bug chasers and gift givers to immediately stop participating in interviews and research projects, because people cannot help themselves and continue to introduce bug chasing to their audience in a style that’s controversial and devoid of all the facts at our expense.

I actually question whether this should be called a documentary, as there’s a lot of personal opinion squeezed into the 20 minute video. Perhaps it should be referred to as a short film rather than a documentary, as it doesn’t completely meet the criteria to be considered a documentary, as it doesn’t contain all the key ingredients that make up a documentary, which is all the facts presented to the viewer to help the viewer learn from what they have seen, this only includes a selection of facts overshadowed by personal opinion, disbelief and grief. What viewers will learn from a documentary like this is how to be judgemental and ignorant, so if this was the intended outcome, then well done to those involved with producing it.

Everyone involved in this production should be ashamed of themselves due to the damage they have done to the gay community and also to HIV-positive people, who are likely going to be put under the microscope as being potential gift-givers. So what has happened is someone who appears to have been affected by HIV and stated in the documentary that he has tried to breaking down stigma and shame is now going to share the burden with others who have most likely had to struggle with the issue themselves and instead of educating people, this video is just stirring up mud and creating a murky discussion that sets back advances people may have made with their coping mechanisms.

The presenter was also quick to point the finger about the bug chaser costing the NHS money as a result of the medication he will eventually need to take, yet when you consider issues such as people taking drugs, eating too much, drinking too much, smoking too much, the costs associated with these issues completely dwarfs the costs a bug chaser might incur to the taxpayer, yet bug chasers are being scapegoated in this documentary as a burden to society and are being seen as taking a large chunk of NHS resources, which is not the case when you consider the number of people intentionally seroconverting, compared to those who are experiencing other health conditions as a direct result of their own actions.

According to an article released by The Health Foundation, the projected total number of diagnosed cases for the 10 conditions with the highest impact on health care use and mortality among those aged 30 years and older includes health conditions relating to drugs, diet, smoking and alcohol, with nothing on this list directly relating to HIV/AIDS conditions, so people need to stop associating HIV-positive individuals with taking resources away from the NHS and instead look more closely at others who are draining the system through other actions if this is something they want to do. In fact, people need to stop judging people altogether.

Top 10 Health Conditions / The Health Foundation

The video player splash image that was selected showing the gift giver wearing a mask is an image that portrays someone who looks frightening, which is an angle the producers appear to have been aiming towards. As the gift giver is being interviewed, and the bug chaser too, the presenter’s facial expressions showed his disturbed inner thoughts and feelings, which reinforces the fact that he was unable to maintain a neutral viewpoint and should not have been involved with this project, in fact, this project should never have been given the green light. The presenter also indicated that those who are participating in cruising are being exposed to HIV by the gift giver, yet he failed to mention that any of those men can immediately protect themselves by taking PrEP, yet he put the responsibility of the actions solely on the gift giver, which is wrong.

The documentary also failed to explore HIV exposure statistics, leading viewers to think that the moment someone is fucked bareback by an HIV-positive individual, they will became HIV-positive as a result. This is not the case and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the estimated probability of acquiring HIV from an infected source for receptive bareback anal sex is 138 cases per 10,000 exposures, or 1.38% and for insertive bareback anal sex is 11 cases per 10,000 exposures, or 0.11%. These number can increase based on other factors, such as 1,001 cases per 10,000 exposures (10.01%) for receptive anal sex where there is an acute HIV infection and 2,651 cases per 10,000 exposures (26.51%) for receptive anal sex when there is a sexually transmitted infection and acute HIV infection involved.

According to the National Health Service (NHS), PrEP is 99% effective against HIV transmission when taken correctly. For those who are going to get barebacked, taking a first double dose of PrEP 2 hours prior to getting raw fucked provides protection against the transmission of HIV, as PrEP prevents HIV from replicating inside the body. For those who fail to take PrEP 2 hours before getting barebacked; if they’re not already taking a daily dose of PrEP, can also protect themselves by taking a course of PEP by starting it within 72 hours of being exposed to HIV, something else that was also not discussed in the documentary.

This means those who wish to protect themselves from HIV prevention have the tools to do so, which is why it’s important for everyone to be responsible for protecting themselves, if this is what they want to do. Anyone who has bareback sex needs to understand and accept that sexually transmitted infections are commonplace (whether this involves heterosexual sex or homosexual sex), so if a person doesn’t want to become exposed to STIs, then they should use a condom or disengage from having sex and derive pleasure from an alternative source.

The presenter became infected by HIV at an early age, which was when PrEP was not yet available in the United Kingdom, however, this has now changed and more information is also known about HIV, due to people being more open to having discussions about sexual health, although documentaries like this might make people be afraid to speak or have conversations due to being concerned about being judged. PrEP became available in Scotland and Wales in 2017, in Northern Ireland in 2018 and in England in 2021, which was a long time after it became available in the United States, which was in 2012.

As PrEP is more widely available around the world, those who wish to protect themselves from HIV have a tool they can use. PrEP can be an important way to protect a person from those who stealth, who are people who intentionally lie about their HIV or deceive others, such as Daryll Rowe, who was convicted in the United Kingdom for deliberately transmitting HIV to people by deceiving them, which is a completely different situation to those who are giving their consent to be infected, however, other laws need to be considered about whether this is lawful, so it’s a more complex case and something that wasn’t thoroughly explored in the documentary.

Those who are HIV-positive can take antiretroviral medication to make their viral load undetectable, which is then considered to be untransmittable, which is a further way to reduce the spread of HIV, and it’s important to note that PrEP is 99% effective against the transmission of HIV from those who are detectable, so everyone has the ability to protect themselves if they choose to do so. As pointed out in the documentary, only a small number of people (less than 1% according to the academic featured briefly in the documentary) are bug chasers and gift givers, so this is not a massive public health issue like people might be thinking, so the cost to the taxpayer is not significant in comparison to other costs being spent on other health conditions, as demonstrated in the graphic above.

It’s important to reinforce that only a small number of people who are HIV-positive intentionally acquired HIV through bug chasing. I do feel for the presenter and many others became HIV-positive unintentionally and are now living with a life-long health condition that requires them to take antiretroviral medication for the rest of their lives when some people are trying to contract the virus intentionally. HIV is a serious health issue that can be managed through medication, which can be costly and is something anyone who is intentionally seeking the virus needs to consider as part of the decision as to whether they want to actively chase the bug before taking the next step. I also believe the presenter did have the best of intentions being involved with this documentary, but the documentary ended up being presented with bias, which is not something a documentary should incorporate.

What some may not know is that at least one person who offered to be interviewed was asked to undertake a psychiatric evaluation before participating in the documentary. This is rather disturbing and again highlights how invasive the producers were being to present their argument by alluding to bug chasers having a mental health condition, which again incorporates stigma and shame into the thought processes of others. I know a number of people who offered their valuable time to participate in this documentary, including Tim Tyler being one of them, yet their contributions were disregarded. Tim’s interview sadly didn’t make it into the documentary, which is a shame, as when you think about bug chasing, Tim Tyler is someone you will immediately think of.

Tim has a lot of knowledge and experience as a bug chaser and he recorded his interview and has asked for us to share this recording with you, which we are able to do, after checking with my friend who is a lawyer. We have been advised that because Tim made the recording of this conversation and due to all parties involved being aware that the conversation was being recorded, we are able to share Tim’s recording with you. In addition to this, the producers did not use any of Tim’s interview in their documentary and even if they did, the law would still have permitted for us to share Tim’s recording with you, as he has given us permission to do so. Just to reiterate, we are sharing Tim’s personal recording involving a conversation where all parties knew the conversation was being recorded and Tim has given us permission to share his personal copy of this recording with you.

Watch the Documentary:

Listen to Tim’s Interview:

References and External Resources:

Channel 4 Bug Chasing Documentary Links:


Featured Photo: Image by Matt Brown via Wikimedia Commons
Article ID: CC077
Version Control: 1.0 – March 24, 2024: Original article published.

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Tim
Tim
April 10, 2024 8:25 am

An email I sent to the film’s producers:

Screenshot-2024-04-10-at-8.19.28 AM
Tim
April 3, 2024 2:04 pm

I will not be watching this stigmatic and prejudicial film. Not only would it be a waste of my time but I don’t want to treat Channel 4 as a unique viewer.

Tim
Tim
April 8, 2024 1:09 pm
Reply to  Jason

The amount of time provided for the interview was the least of my concerns. Instead, I feel most uneasy about the level of deception on behalf of the Channel 4 producers, who led me to believe the edited film would be non-judgmental and open minded. That was clearly a lie.

The second part of my above statement regarding a “unique viewer” is most important. The Channel 4 production team receives reports as to the popularity of their project, all of which is based upon internet visits. In essence, Channel 4 can count both returning viewers and unique (first time) visitors. I refuse to click on the video thereby sending the message that I am a unique viewer. Some things are better left unseen.

Anthony
April 3, 2024 11:02 am

I am not ashamed of my big chasing ways .they approached me to participate and I agreed to meet them in a local park..I am glad that I participated

PozBear
Admin
April 3, 2024 12:37 pm
Reply to  Anthony

Honestly I am glad you did as well. My issues with the documentary isn’t your interview; it is the whiny crap from the interviewer.

Anthony
April 3, 2024 10:48 am

Hello guys I am Anthony and it was me interviewed for bug chasing documentary.as a chaser I have no fears on what people think.feel free to contact me directly if you wish aplloyd05@gmail.com thanks Anthony

Gavin Welsh
March 27, 2024 7:48 pm

Have you seen the one called “ I contracted HIV on purpose”(ask the mask ) if so what do you think of that one Jason

https://youtu.be/nDPIViVKZGY?si=jPdLxlbolcO9ch4M this is it on u tube

Gavin Welsh
March 28, 2024 10:36 pm
Reply to  Jason

Yep same with me I stoped it as hate people like her so judge mental of people think she’s the only one who pays for the NHS and England taxes ,it upset me with people like her as I get them judging me all the time, thinking that I am a burden to the NHS, and I’m a burden to the government claiming ESA and PIP people like her. Don’t think I worked hard very hard and I dropped to the floor due to nearly bleeding to death and people like her think now I can’t work I am lazy and a burden to the country, just because I can’t work anymore due to ill health of bowel and bladder cancer and severe pain problems, but I am on that loan money from PIP and ESA. I can’t even afford an electric wheelchair and they won’t help that but people like her think she’s special and she will never get ill and she’s the only one who pays into the pot She don’t think that I worked before I got sick and I wish I could work again. That’s why I asked you if you’ve watched it to see what you think of her. There are too many people like her out there.

Gavin Welsh
March 31, 2024 7:42 am
Reply to  Jason

You’re right they are not worth it but it does hit you hard when you hear people like this makes me feel do some of the home Nurses think this about me and others when they come round to help you and when they cook for you and bed bath you so on are they thinking the same as the people in documentary is like this and do some of the doctors that’s helped me though the many surgeries that I have think the same , I have had loads of health problems and yes lots getting worse but as you say they don’t pay for the whole of the NHS and so on but how she and some other make out you would think they are the only ones that pay for the NHS

PozBear
Admin
April 1, 2024 9:14 am
Reply to  Gavin Welsh

I am fairly new at life HIV Poz. But all medical care has been compassionate and well done even though I am open about my poz status. I make sure to mention it on ER intakes although it is their responsibility to read my chart; which is clear on the host of medical conditions I experience. None of them have broached causes of how I arrived at the point of discovery. Our practitioners appropriately advise patients of preventive steps. But we don’t punish people for illness. Nor should we. If we start putting up “we’ll treat you if you didn’t bring it on yourself” barriers; there would be little medical care left.

One thing I don’t expect; but appreciate is drug assistance. There are social benefits to antivirals and from a public health perspective, it makes sense to ensure access is attainable by everyone. But one should not expect free meds. CoPay is common for all meds and ARVs should be no exception.

PozBear
Admin
April 1, 2024 9:20 am
Reply to  Gavin Welsh

Gavin there does seem to be some social viewpoints emerging to demonize those who get sick as so deserving of it no care should be given. That was the USA executive point of view in the 80’s. It’s a disease for those homo’s; let ’em die… I am most hopeful we don’t return to that as result of misguided “documentaries” which shame heart attack, cancer, etc the same way because one’s own behavior brought it on. Disease doesn’t consider ones behavior no matter what trends show. To let it run rampant to eliminate the undesirables has been done before. Do we really need to repeat that and relearn that we hurt more innocent when we do that?

PozBear
Admin
April 1, 2024 9:32 am
Reply to  Jason

Masked documentary. Yeah they are at once decrying candor while hidden. Cognitive dissonance on display.

PozBear
Admin
March 26, 2024 11:00 pm

Thanks Jason and so glad you’re back more regularly. Truly a disappointing documentary whose purpose is unclear. You’re correct an example of poor journalism.

You and I both had occasion to talk with these people when they joined Curious Chaser. I am glad we trusted our instincts and limited their reach into Curious as obviously we were a focus.

It does have me thinking about further changes to this site. I think we need to move virtually all content to the backroom and create a new discussion forum for those signing up. That way we have time to vet them before we turn them loose within our site.

I fear if we don’t do this our ability to exist at all in a number of jurisdictions will be taken away.

Tom
Tom
March 26, 2024 1:20 am

Wow! What a great article. This article presents more information and with less bias than the entire 20 minute “documentary!” The bias is obvious from the very beginning the hands of these two makers of the film and it was clear that the narrator was not truly seeking answers to his questions that did not agree with his preconceived views. That prejudice is also obvious in the interview with Tim and thank you for including that.

Sylvain
March 25, 2024 10:33 am

Hi Jason, another excellent article and very happy to talk to you. Well an another poz men passing his frustrations and shame in this not a documentary” my opinion with his freak masked face. Poor Tim! How many times, have had heard ah your gay! You should have AIDS. This doc… will destroyed what’s the poz tried to do

Mean fighting the stigma and shame. Thanks again Jason

Van
Van
March 25, 2024 5:48 am

Hi Jason, Glad to see you back here, you’ve been missed!
And thank you for your words and warnings about this video. I do plan to watch it, but, like you, I don’t expect much in the way of neutrality or even-handedness, especially after hearing the unused interview with Tim which was obviously too provocative for them to use and didn’t fit into their predetermined narrative.