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Single Mom Living with HIV
All it took was one day. In December of 2009, I had a friend fly in to town. It was a friend who I dated exclusively and who I though he dated me exclusively. I told him to bring a condom since we hadn't been together in a while and so he did. In the middle of our encounter, he removed the condom because it was bothering him. That's all it took. Two or three weeks later, I started experiencing flu like symptoms; fever, chills,etc.
I asked my sister to take me to the hospital because I could not eat and felt really ill. The doctor ran labs and to my surprise it wasn't the flu, I was diagnosed with herpes and chlamydia. I could not believe I was going through this, I did not want to get tested for HIV because I was afraid of the results and so I didn't.
Life went one for about another year. I worked and took care of my child and that's all I did. I don't date anyone or haven't dated anyone since my herpes outbreak in 2009. In November of 2010, I felt a bump in the back of my neck, it turned out to be a swollen lymph node. I went to the doctor's to have it checked out and somehow got the courage to be tested for HIV.
One week later, I received the call. It was my doctor asking me to come in right away; somehow, I knew that the news were not going to be pleasant. I walked in to my doctors appointment and I was given the results. HIV POSITIVE. I was in a state of shock, could not believe the news and broke out in tears. The first thing I thought about was my children, the oldest being 20 and my youngest 5. "Am I going to die? was the first question I asked." The doctor went through the process of getting a 2nd test to confirm the results and treatment if needed.
Second results came in and same news. HIV POSITIVE. I am 39 years old, single mom of a 5 year old and 20 year old. My daughter has been very supportive though this ordeal. I know my 20 year old will be alright, but constantly worry, feel guilty and heart broken when I lay next to my 5 year old at night and think about what I've done. I think about that night in 2009 when I could have jumped off the bed and told him to get off when he removed his condom. Yes, I still feel very guilty about that night because I trusted him.
I have a few friends and family members that know and have been very supportive and have kept me somewhat positive. I have been under treatment for almost one year now. So far, my viral load is undetectable and my CD4 Count is above 600. Today, I saw my doctor and he said that all looks good, viral load still undetectable and CD4 Count still above 600. The only thing he noticed was that there is a tiny percentage that came back in my blood related to my liver. This is not what I wanted to hear. The doctor said that it's nothing to be alarmed about and I should retest in 3 weeks for my liver and see if maybe this tiny percentage disappears, if not, we'll have to keep a close eye on this.
Once again, the feelings of dying have come to mind. One medication is supposed to help you live while it slowly affects and damages other parts of your health.
Since my diagnose, I have tried to remain positive and hopeful that someday soon, a cure will come; not just for me, but for all those living with this disease.
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