The Gift

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At the dawn of the new millennium, as United States HIV infection rates began to climb after a few years of decline, Rolling Stone and other publications reported on the story of so-called "bug-chasers": gay and bisexual men who set out to deliberately contract the AIDS virus. This hour-long documentary explores the bug-chaser phenomenon through interviews with two newly HIV-positive young men. Subject Doug Hitzel gets the most screen time as he describes his quest for acceptance and love in San Francisco's gay community and his resulting HIV infection. Sex worker "Kenboy," a web entrepreneur and self-avowed bug-chaser, also tells his story. Director Louise Hogarth intercuts their stories with commentary from a support group of long-term HIV survivors who mourn the poor choices of the younger generation. Hogarth also interviews healthcare and social services workers and various attendees of a gay rodeo for their perspectives on HIV prevention and education.

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