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Woman Talks About Forgiving the Man Who Gave Her HIV

Judith Shaw’s story is both painful and extraordinary.  She has been living with HIV for 20 years, and tells her story openly, so that others can learn a lesson of education, protection and forgiveness. Back in 1992, Judith’s boyfriend and father of her daughter gave her some news that would change her life.

He said, “I need to talk to you. I just want you to know, I have what Magic Johnson has.”

She responded by saying, “What does Magic Johnson have?”

He replied: ‘He has AIDS.’”

Shaw discusses her story in Helen Whitney’s film “Forgiveness: A Time to Love and A Time to Hate.”

Shaw says that although the pain was agonizing, it was her capacity to forgive that allowed her to keep on living.

“For me, If I hadn’t forgiven I would be out there, somewhere, in that world, abusing myself, I would die,” she said.

Shaw came from a family that was cursed with alcoholism.  She was also molested by an uncle at the age of seven.  Years later, she was infected with HIV by her boyfriend, so her journey has been a difficult one.

“I was so angry, I was so scared,” said Shaw. “I wanted to die, but before I died, I wanted to kill Joe. I went to his door, with the gun behind my back, rang the door bell, and he came to door and, honest to God, I saw my daughter’s face.”

Shaw says that, for years after her diagnosis, she spent her time abusing drugs and harming herself.  But eventually, she learned to let go of her self-hate and focus on forgiving herself and those who’ve harmed her.

“Once I was able to forgive me, that freed me up to forgive everybody else. And it took a long time…to get to where I am. I forgave my uncle, because not to forgive him gives him power — and Joe for infecting me with HIV. I don’t want to live with that because I don’t want to be a bitter old woman. I want to grow old gracefully. And that’s what I intend on doing. And I am loving life. I just got married, I don’t have time to be bitter.”

Shaw is now a receptionist at the Virology Institute in Baltimore.  She says that she is healthy and living with HIV.  Her story is one for everyone to hear on World AIDS Day and to understand the importance of being thoughtful about our choices.


28 Responses to Woman Talks About Forgiving the Man Who Gave Her HIV

  1. Cie Martin

    December 2, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    That is what Jesus does for us when we sin He forgives, therefore it is as if you have never did it. To do that is the only way we can be free. God bless you for sharing maybe it will help others to forgive.

  2. corbin56

    December 2, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Some things are better left unspoken.

  3. cheche

    December 2, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    God bless this sister an I wish the best for her and family but I know w/o a doubt I would kill that fool. Again God bless this women, she is my sero. people please wear condoms althoug this poor women thought her boyfriend was only having sex with her!

  4. Pingback: A Time to Love: Woman talks about forgiving the man who gave her HIV (WATCH) | YNaija

  5. WizardG

    December 2, 2012 at 11:41 am

    If forgiving really works to improve one’s perspective of life and that of others, I would be all for it. But that is generally ‘not’ the case. Although some people follow the ongoing psychological/religiously indoctrinated program of “forgiving”, I would submit that the results of abuses like hers bury themselves deeply into the unconscious mind and usually creates problems in people which are pervasive and negative to the body and the mind. These “forgiven” abuses show themselves through time in strange ways which the victims may, or may not recognize. They more than likely will not pin-point or understand the true source of their future physical and mental problems.

    When some people abuse alcohol, drugs, food, spending/hoarding, or have difficulties relating to others, they may not realize that the source of their misery stems from previous abuses “forgiven” or not! When their bodies break out in hives or they contract some other physical problem, they generally will not relate it to the damage they suffered from earlier abuses by another or others! Even the person who abused them is acting out a psychologically negative problem embedded in themselves from earlier abuses! One of the main ailments we “blacks” in ‘America’ suffer severely from, are unconscious and concious past, and ongoing abuses committed by our ‘white-dominant’ social structure, yet we try to “forgive” and forget even as those abuses continue! We try to set these issues aside and/or leave them “in the past”, but little do we know, that millions of us are suffering in numerous ways because our minds and bodies are taking the abuses and regurgitating them outwards in all sorts of negative ways!
    When we ask “what’s wrong with our men” or women, the answer should be obvious, but we live in total denial and rejection of the obvious, and in America, we live in a semi “American Dream” state of mind!