The HIV community response in BC has been a strong one from the start. AIDS Vancouver was established in 1983 to meet the emerging devastation of AIDS deaths sweeping through the queer community in Vancouver; the Vancouver Persons with AIDS Coalition (now Positive Living BC) followed in 1986, and in 1989, conversations began among a group that went on to establish the Positive Women’s Network (1991-2017).
Communities outside the Lower Mainland responded to HIV in their towns too- the Vancouver Island AIDS Society (now AIDS Vancouver Island) opened its doors officially in 1986; ANKORS was established in 1992 in Nelson, and services in Kamloops, Kelowna and Prince George set up offices as well. It was in Vancouver that the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS was opened in 1992 and doctors started research that led to worldwide influence in HIV care and the study of social vulnerabilities that impact HIV and HCV health.
A team is starting a history project about those early days when HIV appeared and “Vancouver lost an entire generation of vibrant, young gay men in a very short period of time.” Nathan Lachowsky and Terry Howard are inviting those who remember those early days to attend HIV In My Day: Reflecting Back, Looking Forward, a community meeting to learn about their history project and share memories of the days in the 1980s when there was no effective treatment, no hope, yet grit and determination to provide support and care to those who needed.