Rense quotes a 2003 Drudge Report article, that previewed an apparent Rolling Stone magazine article titled "Bug Chasers: The Men Who Secretly Long To Be HIV+."

The men who want the virus are called 'bug chasers' [...]

"At least twenty-five percent of all newly infected gay men fall into [bug-chasing] category, according to one claim in the "special report"."

Was the claim in the Rolling Stone magazine true?

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    What Rense said Drudge said Rolling Stone was going to say said is very different to what you said. It doesn't say 25% of gay men seek infection, it says IN 2003 (a long time ago in HIV terms) that OF THE GAY MEN WHO HAD RECENTLY BEEN INFECTED, 25% of them had sought the virus.
    – Oddthinking
    Jun 24, 2017 at 15:12
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    Related, though this question is currently worded much better: Can you guys help me debunk this anti-gay statement?
    – reirab
    Jun 25, 2017 at 6:17
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    Rense..... quoting Drudge..... Jun 26, 2017 at 15:39

1 Answer 1


The number originates from a Rolling Stone article titled Bug Chasers by Gregory Freeman:

Cabaj estimates that at least twenty-five percent of all newly infected gay men fall into that category.

Cabaj disputes having said this:

That's totally false. I never said that. And when the fact checker called me and asked me if I said that, I said no. I said no. This is unbelievable.

Apart from Cabaj, the Rolling Stone also attributed claims to Marshall Forstein, who also disputes the quotes (same source as before):

That is entirely a fabrication

The Guardian spoke to a number of physicians who call the claims in the article a fabrication.

BBC investigated the claim and concludes that bug chasing is a fantasy that exists online, but that is not executed in real life.

Parsons and Grov studies the issue and conclude:

These data suggest bug chasing and gift giving do exist; however a sizable portion of both bug chasers and gift givers were not intent on spreading HIV.

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    Just as a curiosity, this phenomenon (people seeking to get infected) happened in Cuba during the economical crisis of the 90-ties, I am not sure how well it has been documented because of the "political restrictions" in the country, but there is at least a movie that dared to touch the topic: Boleto al paraíso (Ticket to paradise). No correlation with gays that I am aware of though.
    – yms
    Jun 25, 2017 at 22:10

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