‘My world crumbled when I found out my abusive boyfriend infected me with HIV’


Sometimes the hardest lessons are learnt through experience. No matter how much people try to caution you against someone, the only person who can pull themselves out of a situation is you.

This is what happened to me. It all started when I met my first boyfriend. I was 17, naïve and I thought I was ready for love. He was handsome, caring, and about 10 years older than me. I knew from that day he was going to be my first – my everything.


On my 18th birthday, I decided I was going to sleepover at his place. In my head I was ready to be a woman and he was the guy I had picked. I felt like I was ready and he had been so good to me that I wasn’t even scared. And the night was amazing. And for months after that, he was the perfect gentleman. But one day, he showed his true colours.

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I don’t know what really happened, but months later, my dream guy started changing. It was little things at first. He would call me stupid and be angry if I asked about his whereabouts. One night, this man that I loved, hit me. I was so shocked I couldn’t even cry.

All I could do was stare at him in shock and go to sleep. The next morning he apologised and promised to never do it again. I believed him, so I forgave him. It was mostly because I loved him.


Soon he was hitting me all the time. It went from slaps on the cheek to brutal beatings daily. It got so bad that I would often avoid going home to my parents because I was bruised all the time. To top it off, he cheated on me and wouldn’t even try to hide it.

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I never told anyone because I didn’t want to lose my handsome man. I had already painted him as this perfect guy who did everything right. And I didn’t want to shatter that illusion for my friends and family, even though it was shattered for me. One day I went to the clinic because I had vaginal discharge and they asked me do an HIV test. The results were positive. I couldn’t believe it.

My world crumbled in front of me. My handsome man had ruined my beauty, or at least that’s how I viewed it. After getting the results, I did not speak to anyone for a week. This was before I went to his house to get my stuff and I found him with a girl younger than me.

I couldn’t let her be me. So I told her all about what he had done to me, all he had put me through. I wanted her to make a decision with all the facts, so I shared my story with her. She was the first person I told and I hope I helped her. Today I speak openly about my status and how I was infected to those around me. I pray my speaking out will help others too.

*Not her real name

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