Woman HIV positive after boyfriend tells her not to use protection

When Mariana Iacono from Argentina was 19, her boyfriend convinced her to have sex without a condom. Though initially not wanting to, she finally gave in. This would change Mariana's life forever as she then became infected with HIV, the virus that eventually develops into AIDS. Now, the Argentine is doing her best to live life as normally as possible.

Before the diagnosis was made, doctors asked her if she had ever injected drugs or had unprotected sex with different partners. Since Mariana hadn't done either, she was told that it was very unlikely that she'd have the disease. However, the test results showed that she was indeed HIV positive. When Mariana told her family about her condition, her father initially thought she was trying to say she was pregnant. The 70-year-old simply couldn't understand how his daughter had, in her own words, "A whores' disease."

After breaking up with her boyfriend, Mariana started seeing her ex, who said he didn't care that she had HIV. "But we never had sex again," said Mariana. "I didn't have any desire to either, but I soon realized that he didn't even want to kiss me." The two soon split up.

Mariana then entered a "phase of experimentation" where she was left torn up by conflicting emotions. For example, she wondered whether she should warn people about being HIV positive when they first start dating. If not, then when is the right time to tell someone about her condition? Though not wanting to risk exposing anyone to the disease, Mariana also knew that she would be practicing safe sex. On top of this, the young woman was worried that her condition would prevent from ever having a long-term relationship with someone. 


It was in 2014 when everything started to change. On a trip to Brazil, she got to know Caio Mota. "We first hooked up and kissed on that trip, but then I had to return to Buenos Aires," she remembered. However, they kept in touch through Facebook, and Mariana soon confessed that she had HIV. Expecting him to be put off, she was left stunned by Caio's response.

"Knowing that Mariana has HIV wasn't an issue for me," the Brazilian said. "The truth is that I wasn't afraid — I knew a lot about HIV. For me, there were other difficulties: I wanted to be with her, but she lived in Argentina and I lived in Brazil, that was a problem for me."

Now together, Mariana and Caio live as a serodiscordant couple, which means she has the virus while he does not. They've also decided to make love without a condom. Since she takes the requisite medication, the likelihood of Caio catching the virus is minimal. However, that doesn't mean the risks aren't there.

When asked whether he was afraid of getting sick, Caio said the following, "I think we have to take fear out of the equation and look at things a different way. After living with Mariana over the years and seeing how she copes with her condition, we've learned to cope together. It's shown me that there's nothing to fear — there are only the challenges we have to face up to, and we should do so with love."

The couple are now looking to have children. Instead of turning to IVF treatments as many in their situation do, Mariana and Caio want to conceive naturally. In October, they'll also be getting married. It's certainly clear that this couple's love for one another is greater than the many challenges involved with Mariana's disease. Now aged 35, she has learned that you can live with the disease as long as you have someone who understands you. We wish both of them the best of luck for the future!




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