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The Gift (II) (2003)

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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 147 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 3 critic

Controversial documentary about gay men purposely contracting the AIDS virus.



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Credited cast:
Doug Hitzel ...


The Gift documents the phenomenon of deliberate HIV infection. The film follows the stories of two "bug chasers" who sought out "the gift" of HIV infection. Also interviewed are AIDS activist and author, Walt Odets, PhD, and HIV+ and HIV- men. The film explores the normalization and glamorization of HIV/AIDS and discusses the isolation and division caused by HIV status in the gay community. Written by Anonymous

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Plot Keywords:

infection | gay | aids | bug chaser | bug | See All (25) »




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Release Date:

1 December 2003 (South Korea)  »

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Our organization utilizes this film to increase awareness and educate.
10 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As a State Health Department HIV Prevention Program, we provide regular training opportunities for local health departments and community-based organizations. We offer a two-day workshop six times each year designed to improve the skills of individuals who provide HIV Counseling, Testing and Referral Services.

Integrated into the curriculum is a documentary called "The Gift" by filmmaker Louise Hogarth. The film presents varied points of view on the controversial practice called "bug chasing", a term used to describe the efforts of some individuals who are choosing to become infected with HIV. Although the film is primarily centered on this phenomenon, a number of other very relevant issues are introduced by the film.

Increasing others' awareness of the practice of "bug chasing" is just one outcome we have seen in the showing of the film. More importantly, by presenting the experiences of a few individuals in extreme situations, "The Gift" brings about a better understanding of the complex and common reasons why anyone might risk becoming infected with HIV, even the majority of people who are not "bug chasers".

We show the film over the course of two days followed by a facilitated discussion. We ask the group the following questions to help broaden the scope of the film and the situations to which the film's messages might apply: • Despite great risk, two characters openly sought "the bug" to be part of a group with which they identified. In what other ways might the desire to belong impact the individuals that you work with? • There was a sense of fatalism expressed by some of the characters—they seemed to believe that contracting HIV was inevitable. How does this type of fatalism manifest itself among the individuals that you work with? How might it impact their risk-taking behavior? • "Culture" encompasses many aspects of a person's identification including past experiences, background and group affiliation. In your setting, how might an individual's culture impact how prevention services are delivered?

The majority of workshop participants over the past two years have responded very positively to the film. Many reported that experiencing "The Gift" was the part of the workshop that they liked the most. Others continue to express that since viewing "The Gift", the effectiveness of their interactions with individuals at risk for HIV has improved.

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