An impulsive decision to get a tattoo led to a 25-year battle with HIV for one 57-year-old woman.
In 1992, Lyn Parent went with her sister to get a tattoo. However, she had no clue that her decision that day would change her life for good.
According to the Daily Mail, Parent decided to get a butterfly tattoo in order to give her younger sister more confidence in getting her own tattoo.
"The supermodels all had tattoos, they were super fashionable and I made a split-second decision that changed my life," Parent said of that day in July 1992. "I remember noticing a guy before me had had a tattoo and the artist hadn't changed the needles. But I didn't think anything of it. We didn't in those days, I wasn't worried. In fact, I told my sister I would go first as I was the eldest. He changed the needle after he inked me."
When Parent returned home, all seemed well with her new tattoo. But eight weeks later, she reportedly began developing flu-like symptoms.
"I had a yellow face, I couldn't eat and I needed to sleep nearly all the time," she said. "I knew I needed to go to the doctor, and when they told me my temperature was extremely high, I returned home where specialists ran lots of tests to see whether I had malaria."
After ten days, doctors still did not have a prognosis for Parent.
"I was sleeping for 22 hours a day, so my mother said I had to go back to the hospital," she recalled. "The specialist said that they had to test me for everything under the sun -- including HIV. She told me she'd be back with my results the next day."
The next day, she received some shocking news. She was told that she only had six months to live.
"I remember her body language and knowing it was going to be bad," Parent said. "When she told me I had HIV and that I had six months to live, so I needed to get my bucket list out, I heard nothing except the fact that I had six months left."
"I was in shock," she added. "I had no idea why."
Doctors worked to determine the source of Parent's HIV, testing three of her ex-boyfriends before eventually coming to the conclusion that the disease had come from her tattoo.
"I remember being shocked," she said. "I had no idea that was possible."
Parent told Stuff that she moved to New Zealand following her diagnosis, expecting to die there. Fortunately, she beat the odds and has now made it through 25 years with her condition.
Parent, who has two children, now works to educate others about HIV and AIDS.
"I've started the fashion event StyleAid to raise money for women and children with HIV," she said. "Anyone can get HIV and AIDS and it's important that precautions are taken. I think the testing should be compulsory, like smear tests."
Despite the difficult journey, Parent remains positive about the direction her life has gone.
"I have no regrets, it is what it is," she said. "Plus, I think about the good things. Had I not been diagnosed, I wouldn't have done all these things with my life. I share my story with schools and I have an opportunity to spread the word. Had this not all happened, my life probably wouldn't have gone this way. It's taught me to grab life as it comes and live in the now rather than ten years down the track. I don't have a fear of death like I used to. I've made peace with myself and I think it's made me even more positive as a person. It's part of who I am."