Stickman Readers' Submissions October 14th, 2006

A Sad Situation

Bit of a sad question, would appreciate any considered response from you or the Mrs. You can publish it if you like, I suppose it would make a very dramatic letter for your section. Maybe others might offer me some advice too? I know that's not what
your website is for, so I'll understand if that's not possible.

My girlfriend is Thai, educated in Europe, speaks fluent English, done a masters and BA and all education since the age of 13 in Europe, amazingly attractive, never had a boyfriend before me. We've been together about four years. She
"gave" me her virginity (yeah, not a PC way of putting it, but whatever!) About 6 months into the relationship and has stuck with me ever since. We lived together after the first year and ever since in the same house / bed. She cooks
every day for me, she does my cleaning and washing, she does the shopping most of the time and she doesn’t ask for money (or need it). We have great communication, talk about everything, have great times, learn from one another and so on.
She fully trusts me, and I fully trust her. She would do anything I asked her to do if she felt it meant a lot to me. She is perfect in nearly all ways. If I asked her to change something about her personality, she would do it!

He Clinic Bangkok

She makes me a better person, but unfortunately I am a young man (20-something, and she is one year older) and the fact is despite being fully committed to her (as in, I have love for her and have not shared love with any other girl since
meeting her, and do not plan on changing this anytime soon) I have had sex with very many other girls since I started a relationship with her. This only happens in Thailand, and I was visiting yearly since the age of 17 anyway and am in the habit
of living a very sex-based life when I am out there. I realise this will cause frowns on some readers (and perhaps it should cause frowns on those it does not). Anyhow, the right / wrong of all that besides, it is enough to say that I do love
her and I am simply so far unable to avoid having sex as I love it and love making myself feel good. It is fair to say I put my own good feelings beyond hers. I am selfish.

Anyway, this has been going on for years without any problems. She doesn’t know.

I have given her STDs in the past. Each one has been explained away somehow, although I am not certain whether or not she is still naive / ready to accept what I say as gospel or that she fully knows I have been playing around but would rather
not admit it to her. Either way life goes on and these have not caused our relationship any visible problems.

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I went for the usual HIV test as I get one every three months, and for the first time it came back positive. I have HIV. Yea, it was a big shock. The worst thing though, is that because of the three month window period the test has (as you
probably know, you can't reliably test for HIV until three months after being positive with it in your system, so you can pass it around before you will test positive for it). I am fairly certain I have given it to her. We have had regular
unprotected sex as we always do together, during the three months when I did not realise I had HIV. I got her tested, under other pretenses, and she was negative, but she still has two months before I can be certain it is a reliable negative,
so she could still test positive.

As I mentioned earlier, we have great communication. I know I can deal with this issue, but I am not certain I can deal with it in the absolutely best way. It is not something that even a great relationship should be expected to deal with,
given that there is a definite FAULT and that there is no 'accident of nature' in play here. Assuming she is positive- I did this, and I did it TO HER thanks to my reckless naive selfishness. I will have near-ruined the life of one of
the most selfless creatures on this planet. I know HIV is not a death sentence anymore, but so many things come to mind:

– She is not covered by any western health service, so if she needs retrovirals one day etc etc. And the Thai system will be behind European one, so her standard of care wouldn't be as good. One solution would be to marry her, which
may end up being the best thing to do anyway, if she would still accept me after all this (although one wonders if she even has a choice thanks to what I’ve done to her).

– She obviously wants children and now would face the possibility of "Do I risk bringing a child into the world with HIV?"

wonderland clinic

– She will have to face the fact I have thrown her loyalty and love in her face.

– Will she see any future love from me as potentially born out of obligation rather than genuine sincerity, thus rendering our relationship near useless?

So many questions. However, the main one I would kindly ask you both to consider, should you feel you can help me (and really I would like your personal, non-expert, opinions, as I already know the numbers to call and the experts to ask)
is what is the least-harmful way of bringing this up with her? I feel I should know, but the stakes are so high, and the chance for her to be hurt worse than she need be so great, that I feel as if I am back at square one and would like to hear
a more objective opinion on how a Thai girl, despite her education, could be told such a thing.

Well, maybe I am just wanting someone else to tell me what to do / say, so that I can blame someone other than me for when the inevitable happens and I tell my love that I have ruined her life. I don't really know.

Anyway, sorry for the rambling email. My ability to even think about this stuff comes in short spurts, whereas at other times it is too painful to even think about, so I have to get it all down at once and rationalising the grammar etc is
just not an option.

Life, eh? Killing myself would make her even more unhappy than she is going to be, but if that were not the case believe me I would consider it!

PS I realise she has not yet tested positive and that therefore she MIGHT not. If she does not, I will certainly be ending our relationship ASAP for her own good, but if she DOES..well..

PPS Now is a good a time as any to remind your readers that it doesn’t matter WHO you are doing or WHAT job they have – Siam Hotel girls, Nana girls, office girls, internet girls, hi-so girls, Uni girls, any girls – condomless sex
is playing the lottery with HIV and well, sometimes you might just win the HIV lottery. Like I did. And don’t feel all that great about it.

PPPS No, I am not proud of myself.

Hope that didn't ruin your day… Like I said, people live happy-ish lives with HIV (as the counsellor likes to constantly remind me..) and two people in love who both had HIV might never need to worry about it, but yeah, that's
a load of bullshit and I know it. The biggie would be – no kids. What is worse than taking a woman's ability to have guaranteed healthy children away from her? Thanks for hearing my confession anyway (no, I'm not Catholic, but boy it
helps to write this shit down!).

Stickman's thoughts:

To all readers – the writer of this submission specifically asked me not to include an email address, even though I think that was a big mistake, for feedback is what he needs. If you wish to send him feedback you can send it to me at stickmanbangkok@gmail. com, and I will forward it to him right away. Please mark it "HIV Submission" in the subject line.

The first thing to do is to stop sleeping with her immediately. You may not have passed it on to her yet, despite having had unprotected sex, so not sleeping with her may mean that she does not contract it from you.

Beyond that, I think you need professional help on this one. You mention that you have spoken with a counsellor. I suggest you talk to the counsellor and tell him / her exactly what you have said her – that you may have passed it on to your girlfriend and that you are not comfortable on how to break it to her. The counsellor is a professional who is the best person to provide you with advice on how to go about it.

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