HIV diagnosis puts life into perspective for Midlands woman - - Columbia, South Carolina |

HIV diagnosis puts life into perspective for Midlands woman

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Without warning or provocation, HIV invaded Stacy Jennings' life "[My attacker] came to my house posing to deliver pizza and he raped me," she said.

That incident was 16 years ago.

"I had heard about HIV and AIDS but I was one of the ones that said, 'It's not gonna happen to me,'" said Jennings.

But when it did, Jennings went into denial before spiraling out of control.

"I started drinking, I started doing a little bit of drugs, going out to clubs," said Jennings. "My life became reckless."

But then a second traumatic event turned her around.

"I was robbed at gunpoint and I was violated and said I can't live like this the rest of my life," said Jennings. "I have a son to live for."

Her son that was born two years before she contracted the virus.

For her son and her sanity, Jennings started teaching awareness. Thursday night she spoke to a group gathered at Brookland Baptist Church.

"I was the one they said would not make it, but they were wrong because I stand here today," said Jennings.

Sometimes contracting HIV is out of your control and sometimes it's not, but the Department of Health and Environmental Control says it is a status that everyone should know.

"Just like people get tested for their diabetes, blood pressure, HIV testing is something every person age 13-64 should do. Know their HIV status," said DHEC's Tony Price.

Jennings wasn't supposed to get HIV. She didn't ask for it, she didn't go looking for it, but now she's dealing with it.

"HIV/AIDS is out there and on the loose," said Jennings. "If you think it's not going to be you, you need to consider it."

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