Postmortem examinations showed that he had something compromising his immune system. That something was HIV. I was tested soon afterwards – as was Jaye, who I was still breastfeeding. Her result was negative. Mine was positive. At that point I was in shock. But I’m a mother and I had Jaye to think of, so I just had to keep going.
Although my first thought was to keep my diagnosis a secret, I realised there were women Benji had slept with before me who needed to know. So I decided to be as open as I could. It was hard, though and his family refused to believe that he died from AIDS. Some of them even blamed me.
That was eight years ago. Today I am happy, healthy and symptomless. I started taking medication last year and it’s just one pill a day.
Jaye is 10 now and I have told her age-appropriate things. To start with, it was as simple as “Mummy has bugs in her blood.” Now she understands a lot more.
I have never come up against negativity, which I think is partly because I’m open about my situation. I’ve dated other HIV-positive people, but recently I met someone on Twitter who isn’t. It’s a relief when it doesn’t matter to people, but there’s still a lot of work to be done."