Profiles: Living with HIV/AIDS | Jane Doe #1

jane doe #1
jane doe #1
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By Susan Noyce (1st June 2006) 

HIV/AIDS affects many people, in many different ways. The aim of this series is to make the disease more of a reality to ordinary people, by sharing the experiences of those already affected. This is not fiction. It is the real experience of someone living in Antigua & Barbuda infected with HIV. No names or descriptive information will be given. I only hope that by sharing information, lives may be saved. It will, hopefully, also bring more of an understanding that HIV/AIDS affects ordinary people like you and me. 

I’ve always been told that God does not give anyone more than they can bear. 

Jane Doe #1 

I’ve always thought that my family and I were living in our own secure world. 

When you hear my story, you’ll understand why I said that. 

We enjoyed spending time with each other. 

My husband and I were envied by many because of the relationship we had with each other. 

We were like one big, happy family. 

I found out about being HIV positive after I went to take the test for a life insurance policy. 

I am not a promiscuous person, so please understand when I say that the news left me devastated; I felt like taking my life. 

I’ve been married for over 15 years, and I’m the mother of four children. I’ve always thought that my husband was a loyal, faithful gentleman. 

He, along with myself, were, as they say, “Up in the church.” 

I know for a fact I got this disease from my husband, because he met me as a virgin. 

When I told my husband the news, he held his head in shame – or was it pain? I was still shocked from being told, my body was numb. 

He told me of an affair he had four years ago. 

He told me that after they had broken up, he heard rumors and had questioned her about what people were saying about her and what he had heard. 

Her reply to him was, “You better tap yuh damn forwardness – you see how me look – me look like me hab AIDS to you?” 

I could not understand why God would let something like this happen to me. 

I could understand why it happened to my husband.

It was his adultery and that was his suffering. 

But why me? I have always been the one who was faithful, keeping my family together. 

I’m the Sunday School teacher, the counsellor – the person who was always ready to listen – the person who wasn’t judgmental. I’ve gone through depression, real depression that is. 

The only person who knew what was happening was my husband. 

Our pastor pulled us aside and spoke to us because he said he realized that something wasn’t right. 

I had stopped coming to meetings and was hardly going to church. 

My husband, after knowing that I was HIV positive, did the test as well. His result was also positive. My kids thought I was stressed out because of work, but it wasn’t so. Even though I have forgiven my husband, I still have a lot of anger in me still. 

Even though I’m taking medications, and so is he, we know because of the disease our life will be cut short. I’m not sure how long ago my husband gave this disease to me, but I know I just won’t give in to it. 

I have too much to live for, and so little time. This disease has changed my life a lot. I am not that happy person that I used to be, and my husband and I don’t get along as we used to. 

It’s like I don’t trust him anymore. Our relationship was based on a lie, 

He was the person who would tell others not to fornicate, to get married before anything) happens. How can I ever trust him again? He was such a hypocrite. 

We told the pastor about our situation in confidence.

We thought he could be trusted, then told his wife, who told one of the members in the church. 

We then started to get stares of disgust, words being dropped off, and we felt completely  out of place. 

The members of the church, who we felt were like family, proved themselves to us as not being that at all, for they started to look down at us. 

Each sermon that was preached seemed to be preached for us, or preached about us. We were being treated with disdain. 

We spoke to our pastor about our concerns, and he let it be known to us that we had become a liability.  

As he put it, people were threatening to leave because of us. He said we weren’t showing a good example to the church members and those around us.

We left, even one of our closest friends in church tried her best to keep as far away from us as possible.  It was as if we were going to spread the disease to them, if they associated themselves with us.

Each day, my husband told me how sorry he was, how I could see the pain in his eyes, despite him looking at me.

My husband and I decided to speak to our eldest child about our disease. Afterwards, we spoke to our three kids. What a day that was.

Yes, the kids were asking questions before, now they knew the truth.  But I could see they didn’t fully understand.  Since then, the relationship with their dad has not been the same, but I make sure they do not lose respect for him.

Because of my trust in God, I know he will never leave me or forsake me. I keep holding on.  

I doubt though, I doubt though, that my relationship with my husband will ever be the same.

Yes, there are days when I don’t think about my situation, the reason is because of my firm belief in God. 

There are other days though, that I feel so down, that I feel as if I am better off dead. 

The hard part about this whole situation is that I am the innocent victim. 

I was faithful and I am still faithful.  My husband and I don’t have sex anymore. I wish that none of this had happened. 

I wish for a lot of things. I live each day praying to God that a cure will be found before I will have full blown AIDS.I pray. I pray to him, asking him to at least let me see my kids grow up and for me to continue with his help to guide them accordingly.  

I don’t know what the future holds, but as for now, I spend my days working and make sure I take my medication, spend as much time with my kids as possible and mostly thank God for if I had taken my life, I would not have been able to tell this story.

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