A mum who became celibate after splitting from her husband was given HIV by her first lover – in 14 years.
But after 18 months the mum-of-two discovered Jason Townsend, 45, had kept a dangerous secret – he had been suffering from HIV for 26 years.
When she was diagnosed, Annette, of St Athan, south Wales, spiralled into depression and contemplated suicide before Townsend was jailed for 27 months.
Annette said: “”I was devastated that it was such a short sentence.
“I don’t feel like I can trust anyone again. I have resigned myself to being single forever.”
Annette and Jason, of Ilford, east London, first found each other on a Facebook poker game in June 2011 and soon met up.
The pair quickly bonded but he was slow to go beyond oral sex.
But this changed in March 2012 and they opted not to use a condom as Annette had a contraceptive implant.
Annette said: “He kept saying to me that it had been a long time since he had a relationship.
“I was getting to the point where maybe he didn’t fancy me and we should call it a day.
“That’s why I think he then initiated things looking back at it all.
“It was a very big moment, I was over the moon when he did it.
“I asked if he had any regrets and he said there were none at all and we had a normal relationship like anyone else.
“But there was always something wrong with him, he was a bit of a hypochondriac. I used to call him ‘Dot Cotton’.”
Things slowly unravelled when he spent Christmas 2012 with Annette and her daughters, Heather, 20, and Philippa, 18, in Wales having travelled from London.
He quickly became ill and she rushed him to hospital but he aroused her suspicions by referring to her as his “new girlfriend” to doctors.
At University Hospital of Wales, in Cardiff, doctors explained he was seriously ill and had developed brain lesions but were secretive when discussing his condition.
Annette said: “It didn’t seem right and one of the nurses kept looking at me. I was getting self-conscious.
“The nurse came round with his tablets and I asked what have you got. And he said, ‘I don’t know and I don’t care either’.”
She found his medication was to treat toxoplasmosis – a parasitic infection that rarely causes symptoms.
She said: “For it to affect his brain there has to be an underlying reason, anyone should be able to fight it off.
“I looked it up it was coming up with cancer, HIV or AIDS. I thought oh my god he’s got cancer of the brain.
“I went to see him and he told me he was told he has HIV two days ago. I felt terrible for him.
“Then I thought where did he get it from. He was looking at me. I felt so guilty. I felt I gave him the infection.”
She returned to her home and decided to pick him up some clothes when she stumbled across more medication in his bag.
Annette said: “I looked through his clothes and his bag was full of the tablets. I googled it and they came up as HIV tablets. So he must have known he had HIV before he came up for Christmas.
“I went to confront him. I said. ‘When did you actually know’. He casually swiped his hand over his head and said, ‘1986’. I felt completely and utterly flawed.
“He was my soulmate, my best friend. We were supposed to be getting married. I was saying how much I loved him.”
She believes Jason contacted HIV around the age of 16, through having unprotected sex.
He then passed the immune system attacking disease, which in the UK has a transmission rate of around 0.04 per cent during straight sex, at some point during their relationship.
Annette went to South Wales Police the following month and he was arrested, denying his crime until this year.
He finally admitted causing grievous bodily harm on August 27 and he was locked up for more than two years at Cardiff Crown Court.
Annette, who is due to start medication next month, said: “I still have feelings for him but my feelings have changed.
“I can’t say I hate him and I’m not angry but he’s done so much damage to me.”