Let's Stop HIV Together: Shana's Story Transcript

[Shana Cozad] I found out that I was HIV positive at the end of my second relationship. I was in college, a sophomore in college. It was an ugly breakup situation and at the close of our breakup and our argument, and everything that’s when he told me that he had AIDS. And I just kept trying to dismiss it and saying that, ‘He was just making it up.’ ‘He was just angry.’ ‘We just broke up.’ ‘It was just something that he said.’ And my friends were pretty persistent and said, ‘No, you need to go get tested.’ I didn’t believe my first test. I needed three tests for me to believe that I was HIV-positive. I was being infected while I was nursing my son. So, I had to get my son tested and waiting for your test results for your child when someone has maliciously infected you is, it’s a kind of cruelty that no one should ever have to face. Luckily, I think, by the grace of God somehow he’s okay. I was diagnosed with AIDS at the same time that I was diagnosed with HIV and my doctor told me that I had two to five years to live. So I didn’t see any point in trying to continue in school. It’s an incredibly scary thing to be diagnosed with AIDS. It’s a horrible thing to be told you’re going to be dead in five years when you’re only 22. I was doing, I guess you could say a combination between a Native American traditional spiritual approach as well as Western medicine. By the time combination therapy became available, my immune system had bottomed out at eleven T cells, so I needed as much help as I could get. I knew that I needed to tell him about being HIV-positive and by date number three that’s, that’s when I told him and he didn’t hightail it.

[Bear Christianson] Shana did such a good job at educating me about the possibilities, the dangers, the risks. But, as soon as I met her I realized that this is the woman I probably want to be with for the rest of my life.

[Bear] I decided to do this in support of Shana, because she’s my wife, but also I believe the more awareness out there where issues like this, the more sort of normalization, the idea of HIV to show it does have a human face.

[Shana Cozad] It takes all of us to be able to work together from all different walks of life, from all different communities and hopefully we can represent a little bit of the native community.

[Shana and Bear]Let’s stop HIV together.

[Shana] Get the facts, Get Tested, Get Involved.

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Page last reviewed: November 22, 2017