Maybe More Common Than We’d Like To Think?
Having just read one of the early submissions (10/2/2002 HIV and khao Sarn rd) referring to HIV rates among the freelancers in a bar in Bangkok whereby a freelancer reveals what she believes the HIV rate to be amongst other freelancers in a particular venue, she estimates 50%, at the end of the article you estimated the rate to be nearer 5%. I think most guys even those who live here a while don’t fully appreciate or deliberately ignore and play down this issue. A while back my girlfriend (ex bar-girl in Pattaya) revealed to me a friend who still worked the in bar she had done and we occasionally drink in had recently been diagnosed as HIV+ this then spurred the other girls in the bar to get checked. The girl was dismissed from the bar once it became common knowledge (bad for business) and I later saw her working in another bar along with at least 3 other girls I recognized who previously worked with her in the last bar. Those that didn’t present a clean bill of health were dismissed, out of approx 12 girls on and off that worked in the bar at least 4 were HIV+. Even at 4 out of 12 (33%) in a standard beer bar It wouldn’t surprise me if the rate in a freelancer joint was higher especially if the girls had been on the scene longer I doubt and hope the overall rate is not as high as 33% and that was just a bad example but to be honest something like 20-25% across the board wouldn’t surprise me although I would make a guess that a healthy (or unhealthy) portion of that number would be made up by certain sub-sectors of the entertainment industry particularly those with a lot of time served. Incidentally of the girls that were HIV+ most were older and had some time under their belts and the youngest of them had a history of drug use but regardless of it’s origins it lives in the bars.
I’m no expert on the subject but I do keep it close to my heart as I have holidayed and enjoyed the naughty nightlife and now live here albeit with a steady girlfriend (who has been tested). I know in the past studies have been attempted to get more accurate figures but given that it is impossible to even know how many bar girls there are in the industry at any one time for a variety of reasons I seriously doubt anyone will ever get a good fact based figure much better than an educated guess.
In addition to this another older girl who I see from time to time in the same bar and is drinking buddies with the mamasan was back again with a guy who I had also seen before and I found out they were getting married, good luck to them, my girlfriend later told me that she (the older girl) was HIV+, shocked initially I asked if he knew, apparently he is as well and they both blame each other but decided to stay together anyway !!! Got to find a small amount of “only in Thailand” grim humour there.
But seriously everyone it IS, IS, IS here and maybe not as rare as we’d like to think I have only been with a small number of Thai girls when compared that is to seasoned vets but I’d guess at least one was HIV+ (the author seemed shocked when he was informed that he had) I don’t like that fact but I’m realistic about it and always ……ok 99.9999% use a condom. The odd one has jumped on early and had to be removed.
When I hear of guys either first timers on holiday or long term vets who muck around and rarely or even never use condoms it scares me, it is harder for men to catch it off women but still not hard enough. I would say “up to you” if it was only your life but once you give it to her or vice versa and she gives it to the next guy who gives it to another girl that night……… I love the nightlife here in Pattaya and Bangkok and hate to sound like a bore but honestly it is there.
My girlfriend does share the occasional pearl of wisdom that I suppose could be described as “inside knowledge” with me, usually small things that maybe I would have figured out in time and most are amusing and not as serious as this. Also she had nothing to gain from lying to me about this and I have no reason to think she did especially as the girls re-located and we both speak to them on occasion. Don’t get me wrong she can be as suspicious and devious as the next Thai girl but she and I both know that the girls in question would not have been high on my list of potential flings if at all for a variety of reasons.
Your site is excellent I am reading my way through all your submissions and can relate in part to the majority, especially the star submissions in readers’ submissions 8 were very good reading. I hope to contribute more about how I came to be here, my initial findings, and now my life and further conclusions here in LOS but this issue was the catalyst that started me writing. I hope it serves some good.
Comments to follow.