The Gift Giver is a Short Film Involving Malicious HIV Exposure

The Gift Giver is a Short Film Involving Malicious HIV Exposure

The Gift Giver is a 20 minute film that was written, directed and produced by filmmaker Gareth Askew in 2014. The tagline for the film is “Three Letters. Two Guys. One Gift.” The 3-2-1 countdown starts with the three letters representing HIV. Out of the two guys involved, one is a gift giver, but the other is not a bug chaser like you might think, he is a victim of stealthing. The film’s opening sequence involves Edward Carter, who is a virgin getting ready for his date with Jeremy, who is HIV-positive, which is something Edward was unaware of at the time. Perhaps Jeremy’s status wouldn’t have bothered Edward had he been upfront about it, but what happened during their encounter will impact the rest of Edward’s life.

Jeremy seemed determined to transmit the virus to another person and his victim in this case was Edward. Sex may not have even been a consideration for Edward on their date, and he didn’t even know he had sex with Jeremy, due to Jeremy using a roofie to get what he wanted. Ben is another character in the film who could see what was happening from a distance and he tried to warn Edward about Jeremy beforehand, but his warnings weren’t heeded, which led to Jeremy getting what he wanted and Edward getting something he didn’t want. It’s clear that Ben is concerned about Jeremy’s intentions, which indicates that Edward may not have been Jeremy’s first victim or he may have romantic feelings for him.

This film was produced in 2014 and was filmed in various parts of Northampton in the United Kingdom. This short film might appear to have been based on the real-life events of British hairdresser Daryll Rowe, who was convicted in 2018 and given a life sentence for using HIV as a weapon after intentionally infecting 5 men with HIV and attempting to give 5 other men the virus between October 2015 and December 2016, but the film was actually released before Daryll started offending, which is an eerie coincidence. Daryll Rowe was confirmed to be fully aware of his HIV status in April 2015, yet he refused treatment and went on a campaign to find other men to infect with the virus. Daryll was the first person in the United Kingdom to be convicted for deliberately spreading the virus, by insisting on having unprotected sex with his victims or he would intentionally damage the condoms of the men who refused to have unprotected sex with him.

Even though this film was produced prior to Daryll Rowe offending in a similar way the character offended in this film, the short film provides some insight into the emotional process for the victim, which is something that would impact anyone in this situation for the rest of their life. I found this short film intriguing and I did like the dimly lit environment with a beautiful hue of purple lighting when the victim was being seduced by the offender, because the darkness gives the film a touch of realism, as it equally does when fluorescent tube lighting is used for the clinical scenes. I’m not sure whether these lighting elements were intentional or not, but I did notice them and thought they added something special to the film either way.

I took note that Dr McIntyre completed Edward’s bloodwork without using safety gloves, unless gloves aren’t used for these kinds of procedures in the United Kingdom where this film was produced. I know I have always been handled with gloves by healthcare professionals in a similar healthcare setting. Gareth revealed that he produced this film as part of his studies at the University of Northampton and I thought his choice of subject matter was interesting and I also liked some of the dialogue about creating a new life through the virus, along with the celebration involving a bottle of champagne and flutes, which is language often used by bug chasers and gift givers.

The film also importantly pointed out that Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is only useful up to 72 hours of potential infection. Although this film only has a running time of 20 minutes, it covered a lot of emotions and drama, provided useful information (although some of it is not completely accurate) and it also helps people understand the perspective of someone who might find themselves in the predicament that Edward found himself in. I also wanted to add that it’s not currently possible to detect HIV in 6 days due to the window period, but advancements in technology may change this at some point. This film was produced in 2014 and although PrEP became available in 2012 in the United States, it was not made available in the United Kingdom until 2021, after trials began in 2020.

Gareth revealed that he left the ending of the film open, because he intends to make a feature-length film of The Gift Giver, where the characters get the chance to be together if they can get past the rape and HIV infection issues, which would be a lot of emotional work to overcome. Gareth also added that this film is based on a true story and that the character Edward is loosely based on himself, so it’s unknown whether what happened to Edward in the film actually happened to Gareth in real life, which remains part of the mystery. Gareth stated that the full-length feature film has now been completely written and he’s polishing the script before he takes it to the production stage, so stay tuned to see where this story goes in the future and in the meantime, enjoy watching The Gift Giver below.

Video: The Gift Giver / Gareth Askew.

Featured Photo: Gareth Askew.
Article ID: CC051
Version Control: 1.0 – October 23, 2022: Original article published.

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October 11, 2023 7:08 pm

If I should be honest the rape scene made me a boner.

November 1, 2022 6:04 am

Interesting short film, Jason, thanks for bringing it to our attention.
Jeremy is not a good person, roofie-ing and stealthing is always wrong.

If only there was Curious Chaser back then, Jeremy would realize plenty of chasers out there would take his gift willingly.

But seriously, I guess he’s only thrilled by doing his deed surreptitiously which is messed up.

Oh ,and men, never leave your drink unattended in a bar!

October 25, 2022 2:12 am

First of all, it’s so wrong to roofie anyone, guy or girl period! It’s criminal and the perpetrators should face a jury of their peers for a long sentence in prison. The video is dated but fortunately we options in the USA, with PrEP & pep for people who take part in risky behavior. Even if one gets caught up in the moment and willing participates in raw anal sex but the next day regrets his actions. He can visit the health department in almost every county for treatment. Hopefully, this service will be around the world in the near. It’s long pass due.

November 12, 2022 3:30 am
Reply to  Jason


You guys have pointed out what I thought was obvious and more of a problem. Roofie or not, rape is rape. If someone rapes you then get the authorities after them. If it’s someone you know who’s been raped then support them and encourage them to get the authorities involved.

And I’m not talking about consensual, right to the line of, aggressive sex.

Fuck Bud: I’m going to take your ass tonight cause I want to fuck and fuck you long and hard. Trust me and just breath.
Me: {exhales} Ok. Then let’s do this. Don’t you stop if you see me tearing up or see my knuckles go white. If you stop then you can’t restart.

That’s consensual, informed, and they have been the best fuck sex.

If you eliminated the rape then I still don’t think stealthing is the worst thing here.

The worst thing is how screwed up of a species we are that we shielded from the younger portion of our species two facts that they cannot avoid as humans. One, humans have sex and enjoy having sex, and two we are not invincible we break our own bones by accident, we cut ourselves by accident, and we catch colds and other virusu’s by accident.

If this was the early 90’s and there was still nothing but the inevitable death outcome OR take the drug cocktails, drug cocktails that made people feel sicker like they were doing HIV Chemotherapy in pill form, then if it was only those two outcomes then I could see each diagnosis deserving of a good cry.

I thought the short flick displaying that level of sad emotion even without a confirmed diagnosis is the lowest level of fear mongering anyone could do, and that should not be occurring in 2022. “See how upset this guy is that he may be infected. See how he’s processing his world is now going to change.”

This is 2022. You should not cry or be upset about getting a confirmation of HIV. You can be pissed off if you want, but there is no crying or worrying. You look the Doc in the eye and do as you may have done if you broke your arm, or broke a leg and the femur bone shoved out of the leg…

  • Looks bad doc doesn’t it. Can you fix it? And what do I have to do?

For me the entire flick missed the ball on educating about reporting a rape and how HIV is not a death sentence so there is no room for sadness instead they missed the education of how you talk to your doctor and you both agree on what to do.

That’s my $2.00. (which used to be two cents but with inflation these days…)


November 12, 2022 10:34 am
Reply to  Jason

I remember when the doctor told me. It was over the phone. I was having lunch with a guy too. I remember it vividly.

Doc: Sir we have been trying to contact you and we have left you voice mail message for you to call us back.
Me: I know. I’ve been busy. And now you are interrupting my lunch.
Doc: Sir your lab tests have come back a HIV Positive.
Me: Ok and?
Doc: Well you should look into getting treated as soon as possible.
Me: I’ll think about it. Anything else?
Doc: No. We’re here if you need us.
Me: Ok thanks. Good bye.

I wasn’t shocked, stunned, alarmed. If anything I was relieved because a batch of shingles due to stress and then the HIV is what forced me to go to an ED. I missed NYE and tried to take my life cause the shingles hurt so bad but hey here I am 21 going on 22 yrs later HIV Positive and still fricking here. I certainly didn’t imagine I’d be here.

November 14, 2022 1:20 pm
Reply to  Jason

I think what’s made me a pain in the ass to some and sometimes some stupid inspiration to others is that I worked in Healthcare IT before I moved to CA where I became HIV+

Even though I worked in IT I was not one of those who kept his nose out of other people’s business. Sitting at anyone’s device and a patient appeared I would help the patient with what ever they needed and that I could. The more patients I saw and the more patients I connected with made me really “healthy” is not the absence of ailment, “healthy” is the management of tings going on with you (as they say in healthcare) physically, mentally/emotionally, and financially. Three legs to the stool that make us balanced.

I did not start medications until 2006 maybe. Back then I was told they no longer start people on medications just because you are positive. They monitor your vl and when the time comes they start you. So there was at least a 5 year period before they wanted me to start taking medications. And back then it was 3 pills once a day. Hell I was doing more pills and potions from GNC than my Doc was giving me.

And speaking of Docs…
ALWAYS TELL THEM EVERYTHING, ESPECIALLY WHEN ASKED. You are permitted to preface everything you say to them with…
“I’ll tell you but I don’t want it in my chart.”
From 2006 to 2010 my Doc would bring Residents into the exam room, always asking me if it was ok first. Half the Residents jaws would hit the floor at how freely I talked to my doc about sex, and diet, and drugs, and sex, and work, and sex, Tell them everything

Docs are people too, with no personalities unfortunately for some. Because they are people they too hate their job and they leave. After a third Doc who I was seeing left a practice, I too then left. I wasn’t going to train Doctor number 4 just because the first doctor and I trained each other so well. Patient = Customer. You don’t have to do what they say.

I’ve told my current Doc I’m not taking meds, I’m on a long holiday and I’ll resume when ever or if ever I’m ready again to start them.