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Married to a HIV+ man for 20 years

Hi. My name is Rose. I have been married to a HIV+ man for 20 years, who contrcated the virus 15 years ago. He said he got it from either a one night stand with a woman he didn't know, or when he shared intravenous drugs "one time" with a group of regulars at a bar. My life has been completely devasted. I was also 8-months pregnant with our 2nd son at the time.
During 1988, HIV was considered a gay disease. There was so much stigma. i felt so ashamed and so alone because I could not connect with others just like me. I stayed in the marriage until he left me three years ago. If I had known that things would turn out the way they did, I would have never stayed. It cost me too much including losing my job credit, and car, and almost my sanity because of him.

Their is NOTHING GOOD about having AIDS or HIV. It is a horriffic and devastating disease. I stayed and loved him unconditionally. I got dirt kicked in my face for the past 15 years of trying to be supportive of him. While there are all sorts of services for Hiv/Aids infected people, there is much of nothing for people like me who have been affected by aids. I have been looking for 15 years and cannot find a support group for women only like me, who are married and have been lovers to their hiv infected husbands.

The secrecy and the shame of holding his secret for so many years made me sick. I have seen 9 mental health professionals, and taken over 20 differnt meds for depression and anxiety. Nothing has helped. My life is forever changed. And my life will never ever be the same again. If I couldn't trust my own husband, I cannot ever see trusting any man again with my body. I have doomed myself to a life of celibacy even though I am still a legally married woman.
I mourn for the 3rd baby I will never have, but always wanted with my husband. This disaease and my husband's irresponsible behaviour has wrecked my life. Imagine being depressed for 15 years. I have always prayed to have peace and resolution with my struggle, however, my prayers go unanswered for some reason. I pray for a pur heart and sound mind.

Many of the counselors counselled me to stay with him. My priest said I could not have sex with my husband by using a condom. In other words, he said I was still expected to do my wifely duty without a condom, and risk my life. Isn't this a absoultely crazy. My husband was diagnosed with bi-polar disease. He has had PCP, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, removal of his cancerous spleen. I comforted him thwn he had night sweats, diarrhea, neuropathy, or when he was just plain scared. He took my sexual intimacy, he betrayed me again with another woman even after he acquired the HIV. WHAT A SLAP IN THE FACE THIS WAS AFTER PROMISING IT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN.

I did not stay with him. He stayed with me. Now I am emotionally and finacially bankrupt thanls to what he did to me. If I sound angry, I am just profoundly hurt that the man who was supposed to protect me, almost infected me with the most deadly disease know to man other than SARS and ebola. Remember, Iwas only 29 years old when he was diagnosed, and had only been married for a few short years.

I always wished I could talk with Cookie Johnson when Magic was diagnosed. She was the first woman I became aware of that was dealing with my issue. I still need to despartely speak with her. It will give me the closure i have been looking for 15-years now. If anyone knows Earlethea (Cookie) Johnson, Magic's wife, please get in touch with me by responsing to this email on the message board. I am registered as Rose. I am from Philadelphia, PA.
God bless all those with HIV/AIDS. Even my husband.

- Sent via email , Jun 13 2003, Philly, USA.

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