World AIDS Day 2011: Do Something, Even Something Small

About a two years ago, I was approached by my step-brother and a colleague to donate some of my time to the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation. They are both on the Board of Directors and asked me to sit on the Communications Committee. Not only do I donate my time helping the folks at Dr. Peter get their message out, but I’m also a monthly donor. Many of us know people living with HIV and AIDS. Some of us have lost people to this disease. But, too many of us are not doing something about it. I’m asking you today to do something, even something small.

21 years ago, a young doctor in Vancouver began a landmark series of video diaries on the CBC. Dr. Peter Jepson-Young changed the way people across Canada and around the world looked at HIV/AIDS. He put a face and a story to the disease to help people better understand it. He chronicled his journey, making 111 video diaries, right up until he died in November 1992. It is an amazing story that was turned into an Academy Award-nominated CBC/HBO documentary called, The Broadcast Tapes of Dr. Peter. Just before he died, Dr. Peter established the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation. Twenty-one years later, his legacy lives on in Vancouver’s Dr. Peter Centre.


Even if you do nothing else today, go to the CBC website and watch some of the diaries. To learn more about Dr. Peter’s legacy and the comfort it brings people today, Click here.

Today, the Dr. Peter Centre in Vancouver’s West End serves a diverse group of people. Some arrive after many years of trauma and neglect. Some need a home after being rejected by family, friends and society. Many of the people that access care at the centre are challenged by HIV/AIDS, addiction or mental illness – and in many cases, all three. They turn to the centre for meals, support, health care, and access to appropriate treatment. The centre’s holistic “Model of Care” not only improves the health of people with HIV/AIDS, but it reduces their use of hospital beds, improves their quality of life, and helps prevent transmission.

I support the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation because it is a progressive, caring, and meaningful organization. But, don’t just take my word for it. Check out the their 20 Reasons to Support the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation here. Here are some examples:

  • “If it wasn’t for this place, I don’t know if I’d be alive. This place saved my life.” (Dr. Peter Centre client)
  • “I’m making Christmas presents for my kids at the Dr. Peter Centre’s art studio – without it, I wouldn’t be able to give them anything.” (Dr. Peter Centre client)
  • “With the help I’ve gotten at the Dr. Peter Centre, I’ve been able to get a full time job.” (Dr. Peter Centre client)

Need more reasons? Watch this video:

So what are you going to do this World AIDS Day to make a difference? Reading this article is a good step. Checking out Dr. Peter’s amazing story on the CBC is another. But, you can do more. And, I promise they’re really easy. If you’re feeling generous, please think about making an online donation. If money’s tight, donate your Facebook status or send out a simple Tweet.

Here are some Facebook status examples you can use:

  • On this World AIDS Day, I am donating my status to the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation. Copy and paste this message into your own status. Help raise awareness about their efforts to prevent transmission and care for people living with HIV/AIDS. Go to www.drpeter.org to learn more.
  • On this World AIDS Day, I am helping to stop the transmission of HIV/AIDS by donating to the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation. Donate at http://tinyurl.com/2d3rq9j and make this your status. Spread the word: not the virus!

Here are some example Tweets you can use on Twitter:

  • On this World AIDS Day, I donated to the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation. You can do the same. Click http://tinyurl.com/2d3rq9j. #WAD2010
  • Help stop the spread of HIV and care for people living with HIV/AIDS by supporting www.drpeter.org this World AIDS Day. #WAD2010
  • Spread the word: not the virus! Support the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation at http://tinyurl.com/2d3rq9j. Learn more at www.drpeter.org #WAD2010

Find out more at http://www.drpeter.org

Challenged by HIV/AIDS, addiction or mental illness – and in many cases, all three – as well as the related illnesses that plague those with compromised immunity, they turn to us for the support they need. From the Centre’s inception, our Model of Care has been improving the health of people with HIV/AIDS. Studies show it reduces their use of hospital beds, and improves their quality of life. We play a vital role in ensuring people have access to HIV/AIDS treatment – highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) – that lengthens lives and helps prevent further transmission of HIV/AIDS.