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Book Excerpt: Carmine's Story

Carmine's Story: A Book about a Boy Living with AIDS

Text and Photographs by Arlene Schulman
Published by Lerner Publications

My name is Carmine. I'm ten years old, and I have AIDS.

My mother had AIDS, too. Her name was Florence. She died when I was a year and three months old. I don't really remember her. But sometimes when the wind blows the front door open, I say that it's my mother.

I don't know who my father is. My mother never told anyone, not even her mother. We think he might have been from Puerto Rico, but we're not sure. Wherever he is, he doesn't know me.

My grandmother, Kay, told me that my mother was her favorite. She was fun and she liked to talk and she could make friends with anybody. Then she met a man - maybe it was my father - who was using drugs. She started to use drugs, too. I don't know why. I wish I could ask her.

My mother used a drug called heroin before I was born. She injected it into her body with needles. She and her boyfriend shared their needles with other people, and one of them must have had AIDS. That's how I think my mother got the disease.

When my mother found out she was going to have a baby, she stopped using drugs right away. She wanted to be a good mom. But it was too late. The AIDS virus had already passed from her to me.

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