Audio: Lost My Lover to AIDS, My Father to COVID

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Vince Crisostomo snaps a selfie of he and his father Francsico Crisostomo a few years before his Francisco dies of COVID-19 alone in a hospital.
Vince Crisostomo snaps a selfie of he and his father, Francsico Crisostomo, a few years before Francisco dies of COVID-19 alone in a hospital.  (Vince Crisostomo)

When COVID started spreading last spring it was frightening for all of us. But the deadly virus was particularly unnerving for those who lived through the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and '90s. 

“When this pandemic first hit and we went into shelter in place, I was like, this is so unfair,” said Vince Crisostomo, a 60-year-old HIV survivor living in San Francisco. “I can't do this again.”

Crisostomo lost the love of his life, Jesse Solomon, to AIDS in 1991. Now, 30 years later, another deadly virus has killed his father. Last fall, Francisco Crisostomo caught COVID-19 inside a skilled nursing facility in Alameda County. He died the day before his 87th birthday on Sept. 16, 2021. Francisco was a retired veteran in the U.S. Air Force. He is survived by his two children, Vince and Francine. 

“I lost the two most significant male figures in my life to epidemics,” said Vince, choking back tears. 

In the audio above, Crisostomo shares an intimate portrait of the final year of his father's life and the painful visiting rules that kept the family apart. Listen by clicking on the arrow underneath the headline above.

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