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Disclosing in a non-English speaking country that doesn't have herpes stigma?


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How would you approach this?

I work online and spend most of my time in South East Asia, specifically Thailand. Love the culture, food, weather, low cost of living and the local people there.

When I'm there I do casually date and have casual sex, mostly using dating apps.

I'm going back there in 3 weeks and just found out that I have GHSV.

From what I've researched, herpes is not really stigmatized in Thailand and a good percentage of Thai people don't even know what it is due to the lack of sex education there. It also has a relatively high rate of HSV2 (in Bangkok it's 1/3 women from the study I read) compared to other parts of the world.

I'm just wondering how best to go about explaining this to a potential casual sex partner (keeping in mind that there's often at least a slight language barrier) in this sort of situation.

Given the lack of stigma/awareness and the already high HSV prevalence, is there an argument for not disclosing during a casual sex encounter if antivirals/condoms are being used and sex is abstained from during prodrome/outbreaks?

I'll probably get shit on just for asking that but I feel like if those precautions are taken I'm actually a safer sex partner than some random dude off the street who doesn't know their status, especially considering that South East Asians generally aren't big on condom use.

I mean, oral herpes generally isn't stigmatized in the west and the overwhelming majority of people don't go around disclosing to everyone they kiss that they've had a cold sore before.

Colombia was another place I had always planned to go and my understanding is that over half of women carry HSV-2 there, same with Brazil. In such a case where the prevalence is that high and most people don't really know about it or talk about it, how would you approach casual sex?


Edited by LemonOne9
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Hey @LemonOne9 you are quite correct in my view. Most countries in the world do not have concerns regarding herpes and your precautions are appropriate. Nothing else is expected in the social context.

How did you just find out you had genital HSV? What test?

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I didn't have any concrete testing done but the symptoms seem obvious enough to me to assume I have it, at least for now until I can get formally tested to be 100% sure.

After a few days of pretty vigorous sex I had an area just beneath my glans that started out looking slightly "cut", then became itchy. I started having painful urination and then the area turned into 3-4 small open/painful blisters. Flu like symptoms followed along with swollen glands in my neck and groin. I went to the hospital here in Bali and the doctor took one look and said yes, it's herpes. (Though I know visual diagnosis is not perfect)

I started taking Valtrex and in a couple days the blisters went away. They're gone now but I've started having urinary pain again.

I've had 2 casual sex partners here who also went on to develop similar symptoms. One went to the hospital and the doctor also told her herpes.

I don't know who gave it to who - I assume it was probably me since I've had quite a few partners - fortunately though both of them have handled it well and don't seem to be really bothered by it.


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    • CHT
      Hi "Jeremy"..... I agree, the topic of your HSV status does not need to be something you disclose too soon in a developing relationship..... get to know each other first....see how it's going and as it progresses, then the HSV issue will naturally need to be revealed.... it's my personal opinion though that before there is any sexual encounter you ought to disclose your HSV status.... I know some will disagree with me on this but, I think it is morally wrong not to disclose first.  This can be a make/break situation for most people but, again, I feel it is simply wrong not to give the other person the whole story since your decision not to disclose could put their health at risk.... that is simply not an option in my opinion.  Looking back to my "pre-HSV" life I most certainly would want my partner to disclose their HSV+ status before intimacy so that I could make my decision as to whether I want to take that risk or not.... 
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    • WilsoInAus
      Hey @Lcj987 and welcome to the website. You can be sure that isn't HSV-2, looks nothing like it. It is much more likely to be folliculitis or inflamed fordyce spots.
    • WilsoInAus
      Hey @JackThrowAway herpes causes an outbreak where it enters the body first and maybe a progressive spread. If it doesn't cause an outbreak at the entry site then it won't cause one elsewhere, it also won't 'jump' upon infection - it would be more likely that the lesions are continuous from the penis to the anus. Nevertheless, testing trumps symptoms or any interpretation of symptoms. The correct conclusive result arises when: you have a positive swab; or An IgG HSV-2 level over 3.5 (Herpeselect test).
    • Lcj987
      Slept with someone unprotected, roughly 2 weeks ago now. I felt generally unwell the couple of days after but I’d been drinking the whole weekend and didn’t have much sleep either of the days of that weekend so put it down to that. 6 days after I noticed these spots appear on the shaft of my penis. Along with symptoms of discomfort in my shaft in the couple of days prior to them appearing. No pain when urinating at all that I have noticed. They don’t hurt, itch or tingle and they don’t have fluid in from what I can see or feel if I squeeze them and have never burst? I went to a sexual health clinic to get checked up, they took bloods to do a full test and looked at the spots but said they saw nothing that concerned them but I’m not sure about that, any advice? The smaller spots under the shaft are just follicles I had diagnosed years ago and non-sti related.
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