Veritee Reed-Hall forgave her husband after discovering he had infected her with HIV
Devoted Veritee Reed-Hall, 63, was given the virus after her husband Barry, 65, had unprotected sex with another lady while he served in the Merchant Navy.
Mrs Reed-Hall initially had no idea that he'd even been unfaithful – let alone the fact he had HIV.
Four years later when he fell ill the couple had tests which revealed they both had the virus – and he was forced to confess.
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Sex and death don't go together very well
But Mrs Reed-Hall forgave him after he convinced her it was just a one-off incident while he was on a deployment away from home around 15 years ago.
She said: "My husband had a brief affair when he was working away eight months a year.
"It was just once. But sadly he was away from home and stressed and a lot of other things were going on.
Her husband caught HIV while working with the merchant navy nearly a decade before
"He did not tell me as he did not want to lose me, so I didn't know he was infected.
"People think what an awful man he must be – they say 'you are a victim and a silly woman who trusts someone.'
"No, I am not. I am the complete opposite from a silly woman who does not know reality. But that is my story. It can happen to anybody.”
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Mrs Reed-Hall was a youth worker for 30 years and worked on campaigns in the late 1980s and early 1990s to raise awareness of HIV and Aids.
She says people in her home village of Porkellis, near Helston, are still afraid that she can somehow pass on the virus.
She has decided to open up about her story to raise awareness of the need for testing and help shed some of the stigma.
Mrs Reed-Hall and husband Barry worked through the revelation and are aiming to decrease the stigma
"I have suffered abuse but not necessarily from people I know,” Mrs Reed-Hall said.
"I should not feel any shame. Why should I?
"I don't want my husband to feel any shame either. He was just unlucky and we are still together. But it does make you ashamed. Just to say you have HIV, you are saying you have sex.
"Sex and death don't go together very well."
The couple must now take a cocktail of drugs every day to keep the disease at bay
Mr Reed-Hall, a retired military engineer, said he still carries around a strong sense of guilt for what he did.
He said: "It was a long time ago and although we didn't separate it has taken a long time for her to fully forgive me.
"Anyone can get it – you don't have to be that promiscuous. It only happened once and I have felt the guilt of it ever since."
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