Man survives after father injected him with HIV virus as a baby

Brryan Jackson survives after being given five months to live 20 years ago

Gabriel Samuels
Wednesday 19 October 2016 16:43
Brryan Jackson's remarkable survival story has led him to become a motivational speaker
Brryan Jackson's remarkable survival story has led him to become a motivational speaker

A man who was injected with the HIV virus as an infant child by his father has defied the expectations of doctors to live to the age of 25, and says he is “healthy as a horse”.

Brryan Jackson from Missouri was 11 months old when his father Brian Stewart, who worked as a blood tester at a local laboratory, injected him with the virus, after becoming convinced he was not Brryan’s real father.

Stewart began denying Mr Jackson was his child after serving in the naval reserves in Saudi Arabia, demanding DNA tests as proof of paternity, and allegedly became verbally and physically abusive towards Jackson's mother in 1992.

The father allegedly told Mr Jackson’s mother “your child’s not going to live beyond the age of five” and refused to pay child support, before injecting HIV into his son’s bloodstream during a visit to hospital in attempt to kill him.

Mr Jackson’s health deteriorated rapidly and he began to suffer from a range of HIV-associated infections, although he was not officially diagnosed with the virus until the age of five. Doctors described his condition as "full-blown Aids" and sent him home with medicine.

He says his entire childhood was lived "one day at a time", and he was given five months to live after his initial diagnosis. Meanwhile, suspicions over Mr Stewart's involvement were raised and he was taken in for questioning.

By the age of seven, Mr Jackson was forced to take 23 oral medicines, had swollen liver and developed a very severe fever - at which point doctors believed he would only survive for a matter of hours.

Mr Jackson said having the disease led to him being severely bullied and alienated at school. “I felt like there was no place in the world for me," he said but added that suspicious parents were more to blame for his isolation than their children.

"He didn't just try to kill me, he changed my life forever,” he told BBC News.

“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."

His father was given a life prison sentence in 1998, and in July this year Mr Jackson read out a statement at his parole hearing, saying he felt he had “no connection” to the man who had almost killed him. Mr Stewart was denied parole for a further five years.

After almost two decades of treatment, Mr Jackson now has a high T-cell count, meaning his HIV status is now registered as “undetectable”. He hopes to one day become a father himself through the process of ‘sperm washing’, which prevents the virus being transmitted.

Mr Jackson now travels the world as a motivational speaker, and said he has used his story to inspire others.

“"I'm as healthy as a horse! Healthier than a horse! I am beyond that! I might be slightly chunky, but I'd still consider myself a good athlete," he added.

"I still have AIDS, though. Once an HIV diagnosis, always an HIV diagnosis."

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