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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 May, 2003, 00:13 GMT 01:13 UK
'I got HIV from first time sex'
Jane Elliott
BBC News Online health staff

Montse Magadan
Montse did not think she was at risk
Montse Magadan became HIV positive when she lost her virginity, aged 16.

Her boyfriend was a drug addict of 30, who knew he had the disease, but failed to tell her. He is now dead.

Montse, who lived in Spain, knew little about HIV/Aids. She thought it was "a disease of prostitutes, drug addicts and gay men".

She didn't think that she could be at any risk.

The Pill

Her only concern was avoiding pregnancy and as she was on the pill, the 16-year-old was confident she was safe.

Montse, who was holidaying with her elder sister, only slept with the man once and then went back to her all-girls boarding school.

Shortly afterwards she suffered a fever and high temperature, but apart from that she was happy and healthy.

At first it was very difficult I was just thinking about killing myself. I was just 19 years old
Montse Magadan

Two years later she moved back to her sister's village and met a new boyfriend, whom she slept with. She told him about her ex and he told her about the drugs and HIV.

"I was with my boyfriend and we were talking about the past and I mentioned the boy who I used to be with.

"He went pale and said that this guy was HIV positive."

Montse's boyfriend urged her to have a test and her results were positive. He was negative.

Diagnosis

"At the time I was diagnosed, people in Spain did not know very much about it and it was very difficult.

"When the doctor told me that I was positive, he did not even look at me. He was not gentle and it was very hard for me.

"They thought I was a drug addict and they did not believe I had got it through sex.

"At first it was very difficult, I was just thinking about killing myself. I was just 19 years old.

"I started having difficulties with my boyfriend. He was scared and he did not want to have sex with me.

"When we did have sex, he could not relax and so I decided to leave him and get on with my life," she said.

Husband

Then at 22, Montse met her future husband. She told him about her HIV status and he was very supportive.

In 1996 they decided to leave Spain and move to England, where Montse first found out about Body&Soul, a drop-in centre for HIV positive people.

Here, she met HIV positive mums with healthy babies and realised that she might be able to have one of her own.

And two-and-a-half years ago she had a healthy baby boy.

Healthy

Montse is now 31 and, at the moment, is very healthy.

Her CD4 count, used to calculate the progression of the disease, is good.

CD4 cells are destroyed by the HIV virus, so the lower the number of CD4 cells, the more advanced the infection.

She came off combination therapy, which was taking a devastating toll on her body, a year ago. But she plans to go back on the treatment.

Although she cannot predict the future, she has come to terms with the disease and is just enjoying precious time with her husband and son.

But she says that if she could just pass on one message it would be to practise safer sex.

And she urged teenagers having sex to use condoms, to avoid getting the disease.




SEE ALSO:
HIV hits women hardest
26 Nov 02 |  Health
More grim news expected on Aids
26 Nov 02 |  Health


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