Before she ever stood in front of a group of college students, waving condoms in the air and telling stories about adult diapers, Miss September 1986 came out as a woman with HIV to some gang members in her neighborhood. They were young men she’d gotten to know in Los Angeles, and one of them started telling her about his life – about seeing a friend get shot in a park, describing the smoke as it exited a bullet wound. So the Playboy model, Rebekka Armstrong, told him about her life. She’d been diagnosed with the virus at 22, six years after she believes she was infected as a 16-year-old small-town high school student at a college party. Her treatment, high doses of a then-new drug called AZT, wracked her body.
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