HIV Oral History Project Seeks Participants

Submitted by the HIV Oral History Project

We are collecting the historical, lived realities before it is too late. Reflecting Back, Looking Forward: HIV in My Day is an ongoing community-based oral history project that collects stories of the early years (before 1996) of British Columbia’s HIV/AIDS epidemic from long-term survivors and caregivers. As people living with HIV die due to old age and suicide, and our organizations are shutting down (e.g. Positive Women’s Network (PWN), Victoria AIDS Resource & Community Services Society (VARCS), we need to collect stories now so that we can preserve the valuable community history of the early years and generate insights into how responses to HIV/AIDS can be improved today.

The project brings together a number of community-based peer researchers, most of whom are themselves long-term survivors or caregivers from this period, with partners from YouthCO HIV & Hep C Society, Vancouver Island Persons Living with HIV/AIDS Society, the University of Victoria, University of British Columbia, and Simon Fraser University. Funding comes from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Vancouver Foundation.

Our hopes:
• this project informs intergenerational learning among people living with HIV about the onset of the epidemic.
• it is used to educate service providers and the public in order to increase empathy and decrease HIV stigma.
• archive several stories as text, audio or video at the University of Victoria
• build a public website to share stories (with permission) with the community, service providers, and the general public.
You can still participate in the research project, even if you do not want to have your story archived or publicly available.

Eligibility:
1) diagnosed with HIV before 1996 OR provided support or care to someone living with HIV/AIDS before 1996, and
2) lived in BC for at least one year from 1981-1996.

If you agree to participate in this study, you will be asked to complete an in-person oral history interview with a member of our team. You can choose your interviewer. This interview can be audio, or both audio and video recorded. We are set up for interviews at private offices in downtown Vancouver and Victoria, but we will meet you where you are. If it is difficult for you to get downtown or if you live outside of these cities, we may be able to come to your home.

The interview will take about 2-3 hours. You will be asked open-ended questions aimed to revive memories of your experience during the early years of British Columbia’s HIV/AIDS epidemic and community response. You will receive an honorarium of $50 cash. Following your interview, if you provide contact information, we will keep you informed of project developments.

To express your interest in participating or for more information, contact Ben Klassen our project coordinator at: 1-844-472-4606 or [email protected]