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By the time Albert was seventeen, he had enjoyed a pretty regular life, or so it seemed. He isn't quite sure why he fell so deeply in love with a man who was more than twice his age, a heroin addict and very abusive. Maybe it had something to do with his unresolved sexual abuses from childhood. But at eighteen, Albert quit school and moved to Florida with John.


In the interim of time between then and now, Albert's life has been a whirlwind of challenges. He was diagnosed with HIV at nineteen while John lay ill. By the time Albert was twenty two, John was dead after a long and painful time with AIDS. He still speaks of John in the most loyal and loving terms - he does not hold resentment.

Since then, Albert has survived the odds. He has beaten his own addiction to valium - prescribed when he was fourteen as a therapy for the abuses he experienced as a kid. He has survived suicide attempts, social derision, and AIDS related illnesses. He is in ongoing therapy, is constantly challenged to monitor the incredible number of pills and treatments he must take for his illnesses. He has progressed to symptomatic AIDS.


When Albert talks about dying, he does so with the same enthusiasm he has when talking about living. Now, at 29, he is remarkably at ease with the prospect of his death and speaks with a spirituality and knowledge:

"When I was seventeen, I was wide-eyed and frightened. At nineteen I was disillusioned and suicidal. At twenty two, I vaguely wanted to live and began to believe that I might. At twenty five, I understood self-esteem for the first time. At twenty seven, I am confident, proud, happy, and humbled! At last, there is only one person who has any right to pass judgement on my life."

to Albert's favorite words

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