I thought only Africans could get HIV – British woman

A British woman who contracted HIV after a holiday romance has said she never thought of being at risk of HIV because she was convinced “only African people could get it.”

Rachel Dilley was convinced only African people could get HIV

Appearing on ITV’s This Morning, Rachel Dilley, 48, who developed the condition nearly a decade ago, said she didn’t know anything about HIV. “I just thought you got it in Africa. I didn’t know a white person had ever got it,” she said.

The show’s host Phillip Schofield described her comments as “extremely naïve”.

After splitting from her partner of 20 years, Ms Dilley dated and became sexually active with a man she met on holiday.

Convinced that she was too old to be at risk of pregnancy, she didn’t use protection because she hadn’t considered HIV. The fact that she had never known a white person to have HIV probably made her lower her guards since she was dating a white man.

A few months later she began to feel unwell. “I had swollen glands, a sore throat, a temperature and couldn’t eat properly,” she said on ITV 1’s This Morning. “It was like a really severe bout of the flu.”

It was suggested after tests were inconclusive, that she should take an HIV test. A week later she was told that she was HIV positive.

Ms Dilley advised people of all ages to be more aware of the risks of HIV.