A MAN who was given just five months to live after he was injected with HIV-positive blood by his own FATHER as a baby has told of the profound impact it’s had on his life.
Brryan Jackson’s parents split when he was a baby, after his dad Brian Stewart started denying Brryan was his child and became abusive towards his mother Jennifer Jackson.
By the time he was 11 months old in 1992, he had no contact with his dad. But when Brryan, from America, was hospitalised with an asthma attack, his mum called Stewart to let him know.
Stewart came to visit him, and it was then he injected him with HIV-positive blood he had stolen from the laboratory where he worked as a blood tester.
“He was hoping I would die off so he wouldn’t have to pay child support,” Brryan told BBC.
“My vital signs were all out of whack because it wasn’t just HIV blood he had injected me with, it was incompatible with mine.”
Stewart and Brryan’s mum met at a military training facility and when they first found out she was expecting Stewart was excited.
He was sent away for Operation Desert Storm, and when he came back everything had changed.
He also demanded a DNA test to prove he was Brryan’s dad, with the pair eventually splitting.
They would argue about child support, and Stewart began making threats.
“He used to say things like, ‘Your child’s not going to live beyond the age of five,’ and, ‘When I leave you I’m not going to leave any ties behind,'” Brryan said.
Stewart had also started to take infected blood from his job and used to “joke” with colleagues that if he wanted to infect someone he could.
At first, doctors didn’t know what was wrong with Brryan and thought he was OK after they’d managed to get his temperature and breathing back on track.
He was released from hospital, but his condition got worse.
Over the next four years his mother desperately tried to find out what was wrong with him, taking him to various doctors and begging for help.
He had every test imaginable, until finally his doctor asked for him to be checked for HIV.
“When the test came back, I was diagnosed with full-blown Aids and three opportunistic infections,” he recalled.
“They wanted me to have as normal a life as I could. So they gave me five months to live and sent me home.”
Brryan was given medication, but it was hard to keep him stable and it affected his hearing.
Despite this he eventually started to improve and started going to school part-time, but it wasn’t easy.
Brryan, now 25, said: “The tragedy of my school life was that the school didn’t want me. They were scared.
“Back in the 90s people thought back then you could get Aids from a toilet seat. I once read a college textbook that said you could get HIV through eye contact.”
Brryan didn’t get birthday party invites because kids’ parents were so scared of his diagnosis.
As he got older, his fellow students started being mean to him too. He was bullied, called “Aids boy, gay boy” and felt there was nowhere for him to turn.
When he was ten he started to fully take on board what his dad had done to him and it made him furious.
“He didn’t just try to kill me, he changed my life forever,” Brryan said.
“He was responsible for the bullying, he was responsible for all the years in hospital.
“He’s the reason I have to be so conscious about my health and what I do.”
Eventually Brryan managed to move on and after finding God he’s even forgiven his dad, who was given a life prison sentence in 1998.
But he also altered his name, adding an extra ‘r’ to his first name and taking his mum’s surname.
Brryan is now a motivational speaker and even makes jokes about what happened to him. He insists that isn’t a coping strategy though, it’s about having power over his life.
Earlier this year, he read out a statement about the impact of his father’s crime on his life at the Missouri Department of Corrections.
Stewart – who claims he had PTSD from his time in Saudi Arabia during the incident – was there, and heard as Brryan said he wanted him to remain in prison for as long as possible.
In July, Brryan was told Stewart had been denied parole for five more years.
“There have been times I’ve woken up from nightmares, scared he might come back to finish the job,” he admitted.
“I may have forgiven him, but even in forgiveness I believe you have to pay the consequences.”
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