Maxine just turned twenty, but walks like she’s ninety-one. I suppose that’s because she’s closer to death than most ninety-one-year olds. You’d walk slowly, too, if that’s what lay ahead. While she’s been on the street since she was thirteen, hooked on IV cocaine and morphine for nearly as long, she has only had HIV for two years, three at the most. For some reason she, like many of the growing number of people infected with HIV in Saskatoon, is a rapid progresser. This means that, rather than taking years for her infection to progress to the immune suppression of AIDS, it happened very quickly. There are a few theories out there: different genetic capacity to respond, unique strains of the virus, or just poor underlying health. The truth is, we don’t quite know why. What we do know is that she’s in really bad shape — what many doctors would call, in back rooms and unprofessional asides, a train wreck.