By Simon, 28 from Leicester.

Call me a hopeless romantic. I want it all. I want to meet the man of my dreams, fall in love, move in together, get married, have kids and grow old together. This is all I’ve wanted since I can remember. 

Two years ago, I thought I’d met the man who was going to be the person I did this with. He was charming and loved all the same things I did. We went out on many dates, had a great time and were madly in love. After eight months he moved in to my one-bedroom flat and we were happy. 

After about four months of living together I noticed David* was starting to come home late. He would call me and say he had to work late but he’d come in smelling of drink. He started to smoke pot and became aggressive towards me. I tried my best to fix it, but his attitude towards our relationship was now in freefall and it felt like we were never going to fix it.

After a few weeks and lots of talking it finally got back on track. We were back to being us again and all seemed good. 

Then I got sick, really sick. It felt like a bad flu. I had a fever, sore throat and hot sweats. I noticed a rash on my leg that kept on moving around my body. This seemed weird to me so I went to my doctor to get it checked out. After about five minutes with him he asked me some personal questions about my sex life. I told him I’d been in a monogamous relationship with a guy for nearly a year. He asked when I last tested for HIV and I told him it was just before I met David and it came back as negative.

I started to panic a bit. He recommended that I take another HIV test and sent me to the local GUM clinic for an emergency screening. A long story cut short: the test came back HIV-positive. 

My world crumbled but I didn’t know what to do so I acted cool about it all. I took the leaflets the nurse gave me and left. I somehow managed to get home without falling apart completely. That moment came as soon as David came in the front door. I fell to the floor in tears and told him what happened. He just stared at me and said, “There is something I have to tell you.”

This is the moment I found out David had cheated on me. He had unprotected sex with a random guy six months previous and afterwards had tested positive for HIV. He didn’t know how to tell me about it and that’s why he’d been acting the way he was only a couple of months ago.

At that moment I flew into a fit of rage, and hit him as hard as I could. I screamed at him and told him to get out of my flat. I couldn’t believe it. How could I have been so stupid as to trust someone so much that he would do something like this to me? 

It took months to come to terms with my diagnosis. I hit the booze, went clubbing, did drugs and tried to prove to myself I was OK. Eventually I settled down and got my life back on track. 

Four months ago I started HIV treatment, I’m now undetectable – which means it would be virtually impossible for me to pass on the infection to anyone. It’s a small comfort to know this. But what have I learnt?

The major thing I hope you’ll take from my story, and it’s not something I take lightly, is that I honestly thought I was in a committed, loving relationship. I trusted David. I didn’t think he would do this to me. I’m not going to tell you not to trust your partner or future partner, but trusting David made me HIV-positive. There is little you can do to prevent someone cheating on you. People cheat, but all I can say is, if you’re going to cheat on your partner then please have safer sex. 

*David is not his real name.

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