My Life With HIV "Isn't a Happy Story"

Shannon Remembers the Day She Found Out She Was HIV Positive

Shannon C.
Shannon C.

I had been sick a lot. I was going to have gastric bypass surgery because of health problems. The doctor kept calling. I had shingles at the time. When I got better, I went in on May 11, 2012.

They had called the health department; they were in the office waiting for me. The doctor came in and asked if I knew I had HIV. I said no, so they talked to me about it, and I burst out hysterically crying. I was devastated! I went out and had every guy I had slept with in the last two years get tested. I was in denial.

I found out it was my boyfriend who was positive. I didn't know what to say, do or how to act. All I know is that my whole world came down crashing. My boyfriend was married and I was always loyal ... so of course I was confused. I have four kids, three grandbabies and a wonderful mother who has always stood by me. But really was it enough? My life was ruined.

This really isn't a happy story, because I am as devastated as I was when I found out. But just wanted to share. And recently, I found out I have TB, so it keeps getting worse. In all, I take 39 pills a day and don't really know my life expectancy. But I am trying to live it like it's my last.

Shannon is a woman living with disabilities in Fresno, Calif.

Want to share your own "Day One With HIV" story of finding out your diagnosis? Write out your story (1,000 words or fewer, please!), or film a YouTube video, and email it to In the coming months, we'll be posting readers' "Day One" stories here in our HIV/AIDS Resource Center for the Newly Diagnosed. Read other stories in this series.