UK woman with HIV explains how she had children with her boyfriend to dispel stigma

A UK woman with HIV has opened up about how she and her boyfriend decided to take the plunge and have children.

Sasha Goodman, from Milton Keynes, contracted the virus from her mother in the womb and was diagnosed at age five after she couldn't seem to recover from a bout of chicken pox.

Being HIV-positive took a serious toll on her teen years, and she had to leave school when a friend told everyone about her diagnosis.

Her mother died from AIDS at just 42, which didn't help Ms Goodman's fears. She'd resigned herself to never having children of her own for fear that she would pass the virus on to them.

"I never thought I would ever be a mum, I was petrified to have a boyfriend as I didn't want to infect anyone."

But she ended up getting pregnant and having her first child at 18, and was relieved to find out her son had not contracted HIV.

A few years later she met Jay Hart in a pub and knew she'd found the one - but was terrified about revealing her diagnosis.

"I fell completely head over heels in love with Jay but I was scared he might reject me once he found out," she told Caters.

"He handled it so well, and we used a condom to ensure he was safe whilst he helped me accept that I had HIV."

But it wasn't long before the couple made the decision to have their own children, which was less risky than commonly thought as Ms Goodman takes medication to keep the virus at bay.

"The amount of HIV in my blood count was low, which meant that although there was a risk Jay would get HIV from me when we tried for a child, it was very small."

Five years ago she gave birth to her second child, who is also HIV-negative.

Now 30 with a loving partner and two children, Ms Goodman has become an advocate and is keen to dispel some of the lingering stigma around HIV.

"None of my family have HIV, despite me and Jay having unprotected sex to start a family - this is something that fascinates some people as they seem to think it's highly contagious," she told Caters.

She's passionate about encouraging those with HIV to take their medication, which she stopped doing for a while as it was a constant reminder of the virus.