Al has been living with HIV for over 20 years. Born and raised in Massachusetts, he had a stable upbringing in “middle-class America”, he says. After graduating from university, Al settled down with his wife and moved to Calgary Alberta in 1992. “I was married for 13 years. We had a daughter who ended up getting very ill and passing away.” He made the decision to leave the marriage, and then Al began to struggle with substance use. “I was a chronic alcohol and drug user.”
“They are like my angels since I came here”
Al came to HIV Community Link in 2013. “The first caseworker I met; she really took me under her wing.” As a client, Al was supported with his HIV treatment, applications to other social services, emotional support, and basic needs support like food. “They are like my angels since I came here.” After many years, Al stopped using substances and returned to school. He now has a degree as a radiology technician and is retired from his career in healthcare. HIV Community Link was also able to help Al in a very special part of his life. “They helped me a lot through the adoption of my cousin’s kid. He is now my child. If it wasn’t for this agency, he’d still be in Quebec in foster care right now.” Al continues to meet with HIV support workers and stops into the drop-in space regularly. Most importantly, he shares he is happy.
“It has changed my life for the better. It truly has”