An HIV-positive woman has spoken out about her life and the hardships her relationship endured after she was diagnosed with the disease one year after meeting the love of her life.
Watch HIV-Positive Woman Speak Out About Her Life With HIV-Negative Husband!
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49-year-old Jennifer Vaughan and 51-year-old Eric Champoux met on Tinder and instantly clicked after going on their first date. What neither of them knew at that time, however, was that Jennifer had HIV.
One year into their relationship, the couple, who just recently decided to get married despite the backlash, received a dreadful diagnosis that confirmed Jennifer was HIV positive.
“My whole world stopped in a split second and I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Here I was, across from this guy who I’m madly in love with and I had to tell him what was going on in my body,” Jen recalled in an interview with Barcroft TV.
Speaking of how the two ended up together, she added:
“We met for coffee and from that day on we were pretty much inseparable. Eric is a very passionate person and I was drawn to that energy and zest for life.”
After one year of living a fairytale, Jennifer was thrown off guard by the shocking diagnosis.
“I was starting to get sick and I didn’t know what was wrong – my symptoms became more extreme and nothing felt normal. I was at my lowest point when I got that phone call and heard those 3 letters,” she admitted.
The real challenge for Jennifer was to tell Eric, the love of her life, about the disease and find out how the two shall go on with their lives.
“The first time I realized she had it, I thought I had it too, but I was negative. There was a lot of questioning like what would happen to us in the future?” Eric said.
While Eric accepted his partner’s condition after learning the chances he would contract the virus from her were extremely low, Jennifer wasn’t so easy on herself.
“You are immediately filled with shame that you’ve done something wrong and you’ve made the biggest mistake of your life,” she expressed.
Fortunately, Jen managed to bring the disease under control with the help of medication and even set up her own YouTube channel called Jennifer’s Positive Life where she shares her experiences.
“I tried to show that you can have something so horrific and horrible happen that you think it’s going to ruin your life but show you can change it into something good,” she said.
“I’m helping people and I never realized that it would be positive and it’s all because of social media – it’s amazing how far we can reach, who we can reach and who we can help just by sharing our story.”
Despite loads of support the couple receives, there are also plenty of bashers who have no idea about how HIV works.
“People immediately assume you’re a whore – that you’re a bad person. But they don’t know my story or what happened or how long I was with this person or that I was in love with them,” Jennifer admitted.
“Judgement is based on fear and a lack of information – fear is directed at me and I get it, there’s never going to be a time where people are on the same page about HIV.”
All raised eyebrows aside, Jen and Eric overcame their struggles and tied the knot to commemorate their love for each other.
“There was no HIV at the wedding – it wasn’t invited,” Eric said.
“It feels amazing – it’s great to show people that this relationship is totally possible, and you have someone who is HIV positive with someone who is HIV negative and have a completely normal marriage,” Jennifer added.
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