Over view

Six years ago I. was in nursing school and working on my EdD degree, raising five children and working at my universities school of education while doing my clinical at the local hospital and a surgery center.  At the time of one of my exams my second youngest child was ill.  But nursing school like most other things in the work a day world does not care if your child is ill, you still need to go to school, so I was busier then usually when I drove the hour to the exam, took the exam and then drove back to go to the store and find something for my child to drink.  I went to my local big box store and was in the soda lane looking for grape soda when I noticed a man at the end of the lane.  He approached me with and said “Pardon me but you are the most beautiful female I have seen.”. While taken aback for a moment I smiled at him and replied well of course but you must not have been very many places.  He laughed and started to explain how he was from South Africa and did I know where that was?  Of course I knew where that was and while we spoke for five minutes or less he wanted to exchange numbers.  I agreed more to move on with my day, and we parted ways.  I went home and tended to my son and then went to work.  By the end of my day I checked my voice mail and I had three messages from this man.  I was busy.  The next day I answered my phone and agreed to go for a walk after work around campus.  After the walk, I said thank you and went home.  A few days later after much discussion I agreed to go out with him if we went to mass, he agreed.  From there we spend the next four years together, building a house, raising children and working hard at the future. We had gone to the clinic and had taken STD tests before and at three months before we had any intimate moments.  My family was encouraged at first that perhaps I had finally taken the time to find someone for my life.  Things were going well or so I thought.  After just four years closer to five I learned that there were other people “living” with this same man.  In this small town and rural state it is difficult to pull such a thing off but I learned that he gave different names to different people for different things that he needed.  Then I was confronted by a person who claimed to be with him and that he was HIV+ and had been for more then 18 months.  I was floored.. How can the person that was always at my house when he wasn’t at work or school be involved with other people.  I confronted him about this he blew it off, just jealous people.  I got an HIV test and it was negative.  I thought perhaps he was telling the truth.  Six months later I got the second test and it came back positive.  I was floored.  I confronted him again and he said to me.. no.  The health department came and the police department were notified and he was called.  He came to me and said “I am HIV+ and I go to the Mayo clinic and there I see several doctors and they all said that I am special that my body will not let me pass on HIV to anyone else”. I was shocked.  If you read the back posts of this blog I go through many emotions and at two years now I am still reeling.  One day he just disappeared.  Since that time it has come to my attention that more then two dozen people both male and female have been infected by this man.  That is no means how many he slept with and not even in this state.  My rural state has less then 700 people state wide in care for HIV.. for one person to be responsible for so many new infections to occur is shameful.  The health department let him through the cracked due to the different names and not like bob and frank but just a letter different or using the middle name, once he used his daughters name instead when the health department called.  Maybe it was the lack of funding in this state maybe whatever but all these things allowed this man to get out of this state and continue on in several other states.  Being intentionally infected with HIV is awful.  As an understatement.  My life was changed and shattered and at the moment, two years later, I am still working on putting my life back together.  As a person with HIV it is no longer possible to be a nurse in this state.  The place I was working at, while illegal, did not allow residents with HIV into their home.  This state has a state run mental health hospital, I worked there too but in the policies it is written “no one with an infectious disease including HIV may not work here due to the nature of our patients and the potential for infection to be passed”. I still have children to raise, my family is no longer encouraged but now is distance and not speaking to any of us – myself or my children – they are ashamed, scared.  This blog I hope to use to give insight to others as well as to rebirth myself.  I know that I am not alone with this struggle.  I understand that people are like no one worries about HIV anymore, it is almost all cured.  That might be the PR that is spread by the media but the day to day truth is very different.  Here I have learned that people with HIV go underground.   Underground is the world my catholic services contact informed me.. we don’t go out, we don’t want anyone to find out, or accuse us of anything .  So here we are.  I am going to start taking donations from other areas where perhaps support groups for people for HIV are more established.  With those donations I hope to grow a strong support base.  Here we go..

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