When "20/20" contacted us, I was really excited about the opportunity to educate people about HIV/AIDS. However, I felt that by not revealing my name people could be reminded of their rights to privacy and the safety net provided to victims of rape, assault, and family violence. We hope that media coverage will encourage more people to get tested. It is important for people to know that their names are kept confidential by the health department and that partners are notified anonymously. The fear and stigma associated with this diagnosis often keeps people from getting tested and obtaining treatment. As a result, the death rate goes up and more partners are at risk of infection.
I admire the guts and class of each woman who stepped forward and joined hands to stop Philippe Padieu from hurting other women. When the story is told, I think it is not who we are but what we achieved that matters most. We stood together for all women and that is how I would like for us to be remembered.
In Her Own Words: Tricia Reeves
Newly divorced, new to the dating scene, I met Philippe at an upscale night club in Addison, Texas. We dated over a period of several months, during that time, I was with Philippe only two times sexually in 2005. The last time we were together sexually, I was injured. During that sexual act, I begged him to stop to no avail. I went to the doctor the next day and they had never seen such a tear. After several weeks of calling and leaving urgent messages at five different telephone numbers and no response I assumed I would never see him again. I became uncomfortably surprised in the months to follow, he would seek me out in local establishments. He asked me several times to leave with him, I refused. He would then pick up other women in front of me and leave with them. About four months after our last encounter, I started becoming extremely ill. No energy, flu like symptoms to pneumonia, hair falling out by the handfuls, the list goes on. Thought I was just aging rapidly and did the best I could to accept it.
Shortly after his arrest in 2007, viewing the 10 p.m. news, I saw Philippe had been arrested with criminal charges related to infecting several local women with HIV/AIDS. My first response was denial. It must be someone else that looks like him and has the same name. I began to wonder if the symptoms and health challenges I had during the last two years could be AIDS.
The first phone call was to my daughter, Becky. Here is how she experienced this death sentence and how we handled the HIV journey together: