[When I was twenty years old]… I met a guy who dedicated as much time to spend with me as I wanted. After a year of being his girlfriend, I had sex for the very first time, giving up my virginity to him.

Four months later, I decided to move to another city because of a job opportunity. A year went by, and [my boyfriend] called me one day to tell me that an exam revealed that he was HIV positive. Since he had always been manipulative in our relationship, I thought he made up that lie in order to get me to go back to him. So I cut off my communication with him.

Another two years passed, and I moved back to my hometown. I fell in love [with another man], and believe that this is the man God wants me to spend my life with. But two months ago, my ex‑boyfriend raped a girl. Now he is wanted by the police, and it turns out that his HIV positive diagnosis is true. I haven’t had the test yet, and it hurts a great deal that I have thrown my life away as well as the life of the man I now love. Tell me what I can do to have peace in my heart in the midst of adversity. Help me! I feel like I can’t go on like this!

Dear Friend,

What a horrible ordeal! We are sorry that you are going through such a terrible experience.

You ask how to get peace in your heart. Go get tested! You cannot have any peace until you know whether or not you are infected. You cannot make any decisions until you know. Don’t wait another day to make an appointment to get tested as soon as possible.

We don’t know if your current boyfriend knows about this situation. If he doesn’t already know, please tell him today. Whether or not you are infected, he deserves to know. Also, he can be a support to you in whatever news you might hear regarding your test or your ex‑boyfriend’s case. If your current boyfriend leaves you because of this, then he obviously is not the man that God wants in your life.

We also don’t know if you have been sexually active with your current boyfriend. If you have, then your test results will be even more important to him. If you have AIDS, encourage him to get tested right away.

You have undoubtedly learned a valuable lesson through this experience. You believe that you have thrown your life away. But you need to know that even if you are HIV positive, your life does not have to be a waste. Many people who are HIV positive are leading productive lives and dedicating themselves to educating the public about the dangers of sexual relations outside of marriage. Millions of people just like you are having sexual relations outside of marriage without really considering the consequences. Your story can cause them to think about their own situations and possibly change their behavior. And when you help others to better their own lives, your life will have new meaning.

Many people believe that standards of sexual purity are restrictive and out of date. Your case, however, proves the reason that God gave us these standards in the Bible. His desire is that no one would have AIDS, so He gave us ways to avoid it. Those who practice sexual relations exclusively as a part of a marriage covenant have only a very slim chance of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, while those who ignore these standards put themselves at great risk with every sexual encounter.

These suggestions are only a beginning to achieving peace in your heart. Real peace will only come when you ask God to forgive your sins and clean you up from the inside out. Once you have done that, invite His Son Jesus Christ to be a part of your everyday life as not only your Savior but also your Friend. He will take whatever circumstances you are in and make the best of them. And He will give you hope for this life and for eternity.