Dr. Peter Jepson-Young knew first-hand that people living with HIV and AIDS have many needs far greater than just survival. Before his death in 1992, he established the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation.
Peter was a young Vancouver physician diagnosed with advanced AIDS in 1986. When his condition became too debilitating to continue practising medicine, he sought to inform and educate the public and others living with HIV/AIDS via The Dr. Peter Diaries. In 111 television episodes broadcast on CBC TV over two years, Dr. Peter used honesty, pathos and humour to share his experience, bringing a human face and a human touch to the epidemic at a time when too few knew the difference between myth and medical reality.
Peter believed that there was no substitute for the ongoing involvement and support of caring people. He saw the landscape of HIV and AIDS changing and knew the needs of those affected would become more complex.
The Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation was established by Dr. Peter Jepson-Young just prior to his death in 1992.
Two years later, the Foundation began to consult with AIDS organizations and health care providers to determine how best to fulfill its mission to provide care for people living with HIV.
In conjunction with representatives from St. Paul 's Hospital, the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, AIDS Vancouver, BC Persons with AIDS Society, Vancouver Health Dept., Greater Vancouver Mental Health Services, and the Ministry of Health Alcohol and Drug Program, a feasibility study was conducted to assess the need for a HIV/AIDS Day Health Program in Vancouver.
On the evening of the March 1994 Academy Awards, at which the Broadcast Tapes of Dr. Peter was nominated for an Oscar, the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation hosted a celebratory event at CBC Vancouver studios. The Foundation announced it would fulfill Dr. Peter's vision by establishing a HIV Day Health Program in Vancouver.
The Dr. Peter Centre Day Health Program opened its doors in April 1997 in an old wing of St. Paul’s Hospital in downtown Vancouver. One year later, a 10-person 24-hour care residence was added. The lease arrangement for the site was only temporary.
The Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation undertook to secure a permanent home for the Dr. Peter Centre. In 2001, the Foundation successfully completed a $9.8-million Capital Campaign to build a new, four-storey Centre. On September 25, 2003, the new Centre officially opened. The Dr. Peter Centre, now with a larger capacity, continued to assist the community and health care system to cope with the ongoing need for HIV care.
Today, the Dr. Peter Centre provides care, programs and services to over 350 Day Health Program participants and 50 residents annually.
All 111 Dr. Peter Diaries are available online. Click here to view them on the CBC website.