Vancouver Island Welcomes HIV Positive Youth from across Canada

Vancouver Island Welcomes HIV Positive Youth from across Canada
Youth Unleashing Power – a pozitive youth symposium #YUP2016

(Victoria, BC – June 2, 2016) Welcome! The Vancouver Island Persons Living with HIV/AIDS Society (VPWAS) welcomes HIV Positive Youth from across Canada to the first symposium created by and for pozitive Canadian youth.

Youth aged 16-30, living with HIV/AIDS and/or Hepatitis C, will be gathering for Youth Unleashing Power – a pozitive youth symposium #YUP2016 from June 3-5 2016 on the campus of the University of Victoria, on the homelands of the Lekwungen People.

This 3-day symposium will feature youth presenters from across the country who are doing radical work for pozitive folks in their communities. The goal of this symposium is to provide an opportunity for national organizing, knowledge exchange, and personal connection amongst youth living with HIV and Hepatitis C in Canada. It was thus imperative that every piece of the project was developed and initiated by peers.

The project was initiated by Piotr Burek, Board Chair (VPWAS) and Sarah Wilson, Support & Advocacy Worker, (VPWAS) / Outreach Coordinator of the Society of Living Illicit Drug Users (SOLID). Two Peer Coordinators were contracted to develop and implement the project, and these four individuals comprise the Planning and Selection Committee.

The weekend will feature keynote presentations and workshops related to consent, national organizing, healthcare, stigma, criminalization and de-isolation for peer groups. There will be opportunities to access self-care and connect with other youth in a casual environment. Other activities will include zine and art making, as well as nature walks.

On Saturday, June 4th, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, there will be a presentation of “The Viral Monologues” A diverse collection of stories by women living with HIV/AIDS, which is open to the public. This will be followed by community tabling and networking. University of Victoria, SUB Upper Lounge.
We invite you to join us on social media using the hash tag #YUP2016 ( and send a welcome message to the visiting pozitive youth joining us at the symposium!

This project made possible through generous funding from Island Health’s STOP HIV Community Grants Program.


Contact information follows

For more information or interviews please contact:

Piotr Burek
Board Chair, VPWAS or


Sarah Wilson
Support & Advocacy Worker, VPWAS or

Vancouver Island Persons Living with HIV/AIDS Society (VPWAS)
101 – 1139 Yates Street
Victoria, BC V8V3N2


Vancouver Island Persons Living With HIV/AIDS Society (VPWAS) 205 - 1120 Yates Street, Coast Salish Territories, Victoria, BC. V8V 3M9
Phone: 250.382.7927 | Fax: 250.382.3232 | Toll Free: 1.877.382.7927 | | | Login