In 1991 a group of people with HIV approached the Vancouver Persons with AIDS Society (currently Positive Living Society of British Colombia) to ask if they would sponsor an outreach project in Victoria. At that time local (Victoria) members of that organization were holding weekly support meetings at the YMCA and wanted to create a more comprehensive space for self-empowerment through mutual support and information exchange in a context of self governance. The Board accepted the proposal and provided a small budget for basic start-up costs (e.g. a post office box and a telephone line).

Representatives later met with the Provincial Health Officer and regional health authorities for both moral and financial support. After successfully applying for a small operating grant we were able to open our first office on Superior Street on June 1, 1992.

With a budget and an office, members developed programs that included a drop-in lounge, support meetings, a health education series, a treatment library, a 24 hour telephone help line, a food bank and a clothing/furniture exchange. A management committee (composed of any member who wanted to participate) met weekly to plan activities which were carried out solely by member/volunteers.

In 1994 the management team felt operations could be streamlined by incorporating the project as an autonomous organization. A governing Board of Directors was appointed and an employee was hired to handle the daily administrative responsibilities and the Victoria Persons with AIDS Society (VPWAS) was officially established.

Founding Members
Gary Raymond Murphy
George Vincent Kirkpatrick
John Charles Page
Peter Lomax
Francis Alden McNeil
David John Hillman
Michael Steven Doyle

In 2005, our primary funder, the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) asked us to extend our mandate to cover the whole of Vancouver Island instead of only the Capital Regional District. Thus, we changed our name to the Vancouver Island Persons Living with HIV/AIDS Society, however the domain and e-mail acronym remains VPWAS.

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 | support@vpwas.org | www.vpwas.org | Login