I am HIV positive because he slept around

I am 27 and I was in a relationship with a guy for five years. We lived together for three years.

I am 27 and I was in a relationship with a guy for five years. We lived together for three years.

When we met, we were tested and we were both negative. We were tested again about two years into our relationship and again we were negative.

When he got sick two months ago, we went to a doctor and were tested again. We discovered his positive status and mine. I am devastated. I don't know if I will ever recover from the shock.

I broke up with him not because he is positive but because he passed it on to me. When I asked him how he became positive, he said he didn't know. He was adamant that he never cheated on me, but I didn't believe it.

This week I bumped into one of his friends, who told me that my ex used to see prostitutes and that he visited them often throughout our relationship. I was very hurt. I thought I was enough for him and he promised that he loved me and was faithful.

I have a deadly virus, a broken heart and am very angry with him. I want to warn sisters to insist on safe sex and to go for regular HIV tests because many men just can't be trusted, no matter what they tell you.

Cynical, Johannesburg

Sister, my heart goes out to you for the heartache of your man's betrayal and for the shock of discovering your status.

It is natural that you feel this way, but it is not healthy. Try to process this pain and come to terms with the betrayal and with being HIV positive. It is essential that you keep yourself healthy and this includes your mental well-being. Holding on to anger will not do you any good. If you can't get over it, see a counsellor or therapist to help you.

I presume you are too upset to think about having sex with anyone right now, but when you are ready, please do not ever be tempted to repeat the behaviour of your ex. I wish you the best.