I would like to ask a question of your readers, particularly the male ones: what would your opinion be if a woman you were interested in, either for a relationship or for marriage, told you she has a STI (i.e herpes I, Herpes II, Hepatitis C or HPV) or has health effects resulting from a past STI (chlamydia, syphilis or gonorrhea)?
My situation is this:
I’m a happily divorced woman in her 30s, who is fortunate to not have the pressure to marry again, settle down, etc. I say I’m happily divorced as the marriage was not happy.
I’m interested in dating, and have run into the following problem.
I’m finding out that HSV I and II are extremely common where I live. The bad side is that: a) HSV I and II can be very easy to pass on, AND b) there is NO CURE.
Now, the good side (if it can be called that) is that, for many people, HSV I and II are asymptomatic, so they don’t even know they have it (again, this makes transmission very easy due to no symptoms). Thus, ‘nothing’ is the outcome for many people. The worst case is that Herpes causes blisters on the mouth (if acquired by kissing) and fever in some people.
Besides this, it’s related to chicken pox and shingles, as it’s caused by the same core virus. And yet….
Due to the fact that this is *sexually transmitted*, the stigma around STIs in particular, and HSV in particular, is high. And that’s just the general population. I have two other things to contend with, as below.
My concern is that I live with my family and don’t want them to be embarrassed by me if I were to acquire these infections specifically. I am more liberal in outlook than they are, even though their outlook has expanded a lot since my divorce. They are religious and middle-ground in their values. HSV is either really obvious (if the blisters are around the mouth), or painful (if the blisters are at the other popular site – the genitals (sorry everyone)). Thus, I’m really concerned that if I acquired it, basically, they would come to know.
Further, I don’t know what the reaction of Indian men, or men who have an Indian background would be if I were to acquire a STD *DESPITE* being careful in the whole dating and intimacy area. I’ve avoided Indian men so far, as they are either very conservative and not interested in dating, or are just sleazy. It seems the middle ground is pretty slim and hard to find.
To add to all this, I’ve lived outside India for a long time, and have interacted (as in spoken with) with men who are not Indian. Dating and intimacy is pretty much part of social interaction in the West (well, it’s based on a person’s preferences, wants, needs, etc etc). These then raise more questions in my mind: Is it wrong for me to be doing things the ‘Western way’ and meeting for outings, dinner, etc? Or even going further? Should I risk family disapproval if something should happen to me? Should I risk never having a relationship with an Indian man if I happen to find one who seems compatible with me?
This is something that has played on my mind for a long time, and I’d like to ask your readers about the same.