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Getting back in the saddle and HIV

(96 Posts)
HIVpos Tue 30-May-17 20:04:55

I have recently been diagnosed as HIV positive. I am sharing this in an effort to try to help prevent anyone from being in the same situation as me, which is why I have posted in Relationships.

I have obviously nc for this, but have been on MN for a long time. I am late 50s and was married 23 years, mostly unhappily but 2 lovely DDs. After my divorce I took a year to “be me” but when the opportunity arose at the end of last year I dated. We had “the talk”. I explained I hadn’t had sex for 10 years (yes it was truly a crap marriage!) and he explained he had been recently tested for STIs at the local GP as part of a full medical. I know now that some local GPs do not like to actually test for HIV and this should really be normalised along with other STIs. I knew this guy, I know his family – he wasn’t a total stranger.

So we had sex – with a condom initially as I explained I could still get pregnant. He offered to get the snip – he was hoping for something long term, whereas for me, to begin with anyway, it was just a bit of fun with no expectations. I elected to get fitted with the Mirena coil, which would also help with the periods. After this we had unprotected sex.

In January I had an awful sick bug, lasting 10 days during which I could not eat or drink and lost 12 lb. I now know this was seroconversion, which can happen about 1-2 months after becoming infected and normally takes the form of bad flu and/or rash. In March I finished with him and due to dryness/soreness went to get tested. This was diagnosed as Atrophic Vaginitis, normal for women my age, easily treatable, but, please note, can make women more susceptible to becoming infected due to thinning of the vaginal wall. I had STI tests done while I was there and heard just before Easter that I was HIV positive.

I am now on meds (2 weeks) and will be for the rest of my life. I know this will keep it supressed and non infectious and I can lead a normal life, but it is not yet curable. This has totally floored me when I thought my life was starting again, and I have been an emotional wreck. However I have had great support from lovely friends. It has been a very steep learning curve, and I hope to soon stop feeling that this is what defines me and continue with my life. However, in any new relationship I have, I will always have to have “that talk” and for guys in my age group that will be tough.

I would urge anyone thinking of starting a relationship to both go get tested, and be aware there is a window period of about 1 month between being infected and it showing up on any test

AdalindSchade Tue 30-May-17 20:09:11

flowers
Bless you for being so brave and wanting to help others.

DextersMistress Tue 30-May-17 20:09:40

flowers

I've not got much to say to be honest except I think you're very brave. I wish you all the best for the future.

Phoebefromfriends Tue 30-May-17 20:14:00

Thank you for sharing OP you are so brave. I can't imagine what a shock it must've been.

Did your ex lie about his status or wasn't he tested for HIV?

annandale Tue 30-May-17 20:14:00

flowers and best wishes. Could happen to anyone, thank you for telling your story.

FuckitAndStartAgain Tue 30-May-17 20:16:33

I am just divorced and considering a relationship in the distant future. I am not sure I would have thought this through properly. Thank you.

So can you have a 'normal life' now you are on treatment? I hope so. You are clearly a kind and caring person, with a good dose of strength!

ohfourfoxache Tue 30-May-17 20:18:18

You are absolutely amazing to have shared your story.

Wishing you happiness thanks

EmmaC78 Tue 30-May-17 20:19:30

Another who thinks you are brave. There was a programme on the other day around HIV and how well medicated it can be these days.

MrsDc7 Tue 30-May-17 20:19:42

I know two people living with HIV and they have both found happiness. Good luck to you and thank you for sharing xx

LostGarden Tue 30-May-17 20:20:11

I'm so impressed by your bravery. You're coming to terms with a life changing diagnosis yet finding the time and headspace to educate and warn others.

Best wishes to you x

AdalindSchade Tue 30-May-17 20:21:11

I know this might sound patronising but it's important. People coming out of long relationships in their 50s and older are a very fast growing group for STIs because they don't get tested or insist on partners getting tested before new sexual partners.

It's never sufficient to take someone's word for it.

HIVpos Tue 30-May-17 20:23:50

Phoebe I really don't know. Having never had an STI test in my life (other than those done when pregnant), if a GP had done these tests as part of a medical, taken blood for liver, kidney function etc, then told me I had all clear, I wouldn't have questioned individual results.

The clinic nurse said not to apportion blame needs I have absolute proof. I believe he migh have been in the window period when tested, after another relationship, so it wouldn't have shown up

PacificDogwod Tue 30-May-17 20:25:03

Thank you for posting this.
I am glad you got diagnosed and put on treatment quickly. I am sure you know that HIV is very much seen as a 'chronic illness' (such as diabetes or high blood pressure) now rather than as an inevitably worsening condition as it once was.
'Tis still crap though of course that you are having to deal with this, and I am sorry thanks

jayho Tue 30-May-17 20:26:07

You are a brave and generous woman who made choices many of us would at your stage of life.
I am 53 and had the menopause so no longer use contraception with my partner. I had my last child at 45 so was checked for hiv then. He is my only sexual partner since. He will not have been checked for this although has done the 'usual' sti sweep. I will ask him to get checked.

Patriciathestripper1 Tue 30-May-17 20:28:47

flowers very brave of you to share this and I wish you all the best op x x

HIVpos Tue 30-May-17 20:31:20

Fuckit, yes, other than meds and extra MOTs, which s actually a good thing as we get older, I will have exactly the same life. If anything it will make me healthier.

Ada you are right. We are from an era when STI tests weren't done, although we teach our kids about safe sex. I think that results should be given in writing too

Emma, yes the programme was "the truth about HIV" on BBC1 - very well done

FuckitAndStartAgain Tue 30-May-17 20:36:48

Thanks positive. (NOt calling you HIV but, hope you are beginning to feel positive😃).

I suspect there are many woman, and men, in this situation. Is it say to find support? Sorry. I have a million questions, just ignore or tell me to piss off if too much!

FuckitAndStartAgain Tue 30-May-17 20:37:08

Easy not say

HIVpos Tue 30-May-17 20:38:32

Jayho, interesting that you say your partner has had the "usual" STI sweep, but this doesn't include HIV. I just wish it could be normalised enough to be included in all STI testing

AdalindSchade Tue 30-May-17 20:40:42

GPs don't tend to do STI checks though - they send you off to the GUM clinic. They may test for something specific but they won't do a full MOT.

PacificDogwod Tue 30-May-17 20:43:50

GPs can and do 'full' STI (incl Hepatitis and HIV) tests - they are time consuming, require a fair bit of counselling before and after test results, and should include help with contact tracing. They are far better done in the setting of an GUM clinic.

Having said that, I totally agree that HIV testing ought to be normalised.

SealSong Tue 30-May-17 20:44:30

Thank you for sharing, OP, and I wish you all the best.

Waltermittythesequel Tue 30-May-17 20:48:04

Fucking hell.

I'm so sorry, OP.

Thanks for posting. I hope people remember it when embarking on new relationships. flowers

MissShittyBennet Tue 30-May-17 21:05:25

Wow OP. Good for you for saying it.

HildaOg Tue 30-May-17 22:12:22

I'm so sorry to hear this. Must be such a shock. It's not really something most of us would ever think of happening.

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