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The Changing Face of AIDS : 'We Felt So Cheated at the End' : Steve Hunio, 37, Woodland Hills:

June 16, 1995

How I got HIV I'll never know.

I found out I was positive by a fluke. In 1990 I needed a health certificate so I could go on location for a film company. I got a blood test for diabetes, which runs in my family, and said, "Test me for everything while I'm here."

A few days later the doctor called: "The good news is, you don't have diabetes. The bad news is, you test positive for HIV."

I was stunned. I walked around in circles, staring at the pavement cracks.

I've never figured out where this came from. I never did IV drugs or gay sex. The women I've had relationships with were mostly girl-next-door types. I've been sexually active since I got out of prep school in 1976, but in those days pregnancy was what we worried about.

I'd been living with a woman for three years when I found out I had HIV. She tested negative, and she stayed with me for another year after that. I was 32 when she left. I buried myself in my work.

Soon a friend introduced me to a very beautiful, very bright woman named Linda. She had contracted AIDS from her husband, a professor, who died without ever finding out how he got infected.

We got closer and closer and finally said "I love you." By then Linda was feeling ill. A port was inserted in her arm to make injections easier. I remember she was so worried that I wouldn't be attracted to her anymore. So I kissed her, and I kissed it, and I said it didn't matter. And I meant it.

I proposed to her on New Year's Eve, 1993. In January I left my job because she was getting sicker and I wanted to spend all my time with her. On March 26, we were married in a storybook wedding with all our family and friends. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. You can see from her picture what a beautiful bride she was. Three days after the wedding, she entered the hospital. I stayed with her until she passed away on June 4.

I still love her so deeply and always will. We were fortunate to find each other, but we felt so cheated at the end. We knew she would be the first to go. But by God, we thought we had more time. We wanted an idyllic little married life if only for a month or two.

She was very wise, and she left me with a game plan, which is to enjoy every single day I have left. In the midst of my grief I have been trying.

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