FORT WORTH -- Worried about the stigma of being HIV positive, a single Fort Worth mother would only tell us her story is we agreed not to identify her. She told us she contracted HIV from a man who knew he had the disease at least a year before they became intimate.
"I never knew," she said. "I didn't have any clue."
She said she trusted 42-year-old Jimmy Bernard Billingsley to the point where she abandoned her insistence that they have only protected sex.
"He would say, 'You'll be okay. I won't get you pregnant. I don't have anything. You don't have anything to worry about,'" she said.
But then, "I started feeling sick," and a quick blood test brought the dreaded news she was HIV positive.
"I just cried," she said. "I'm not going to live for a long time is what I thought."
But she lived to see Billingsley face justice Monday. He was sentenced by State District Judge Robb Catalano to 15 years in prison for aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury for knowingly infecting the woman. Billingsley faced 20 years, but the judge settled on 15 years.
She is glad he's going away, but it doesn't take away her own life sentence.
"I am just so tired of going to the doctor, and so tired of taking medicine," she said.
Every day, she has to take a cocktail of pills that she hopes will ward off full-blown AIDS. As she takes care of herself, she prays for the numerous other partners that prosecutors say Billingsley admits to having sexual relations with after he knew he was positive in 2008.
And she warns everyone else to protect themselves.
"Just be careful out there," she said. "Don't trust anybody. It's not a game to play with. You don't want to be in this situation."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this story