Positive Thirteen Years Later

Straight from the Heart is the PLUS Newsletter’s newest column that features anonymous interviews of women living with HIV. Antoinette Jones, a PLUS advocate, started this column to share women’s experiences and stories of how they learned about their status and how they coped with their diagnosis. This month she spoke with an HIV positive woman who was diagnosed 13 years ago:

Q: How did you become HIV positive?
I was diagnosed with HIV on June 27, 1997. I was part of a community action group and served as a big sister to one of the new comers. She wanted me to accompany her to get tested for HIV. Six months prior, I went to get tested with my big sister and the results were negative. This time, I went with her to provide support, so while she got tested, I decided to get tested again, this time my results came back positive. The first thing that came to my mind was that I was just given a death sentence. At the time, I had just given birth to my son and I was worried that he may also have HIV. My mind was racing with all of these thoughts. I thought that maybe I had HIV all this time and that when I was tested the first time, it may have been during the window period, giving me a falsenegative. I did not want to tell my mother, but I asked her to get my son tested, thank God his results were negative. That’s how I found out.