about the project


The 2016 pilot project was made possible through generous funding from Island Health’s STOP HIV Community Grants Program.

STOP HIV/AIDS, or “Seek and Treat for Optimal Prevention of HIV/AIDS,” was expanded to include all of British Columbia as of April 1, 2013, following a four-year pilot project. The program allows health professionals and community partners to better engage the broader community and specific at-risk groups in HIV testing, reach more people with HIV/AIDS, and enable more British Columbians to be treated. Please see the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS for more information.

We gratefully acknowledge financial and in-kind contributions from:

YouthCo Vancouver
anti violence project 
The University of Victoria Students Society

The University of Victoria PRIDE Society’s Youth Caucus
the PLUR collective
The CRUSH Collective
The CoopHaus Collective

In 2017, VPWAS worked closely with YouthCo, of Vancouver, and CANFAR to increase resources for the project. We are incredibly grateful to the support that YouthCo was able to provide, both in connecting youth to the project, providing transportation, and presenting workshops during the symposium. We would also like to acknowledge the important contributions of CANFAR, who provided not only funding, but also facilitated a full day workshop on digital storytelling. The video that was created during this workshop will serve as an enduring statement to the power and impact of Youth Unleashing Power and peer-led movements.

We are thrilled to announce that in 2018, Youth Unleashing Power will be funded through a Positive Action Community Grant from ViiV Healthcare, in partnership with the Vancouver Island PWA Society (Victoria), YouthCo (Vancouver), and CANFAR (National).

Youth Unleashing Power: a pozitive youth symposium is supported by a POSITIVE ACTION community grant from ViiV Healthcare. The views expressed herein by Vancouver Island Persons Living with HIV/AIDS Society Associated with Youth Unleashing Power: a pozitive youth symposium are solely those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of ViiV Healthcare ULC.


The goal of the project is to provide an opportunity for national organizing, knowledge exchange, and personal connection amongst youth living with HIV and Hepatitis C across Canada. It was thus imperative that every piece of the project was developed and initiated by peers.

The project was initiated by Piotr Burek, Chair of the Board of the Vancouver Island Persons Living with HIV/AIDS Society and Sarah Wilson, Support & Advocacy Worker, VPWAS.. 2 Peer Coordinators were contracted to develop and implement the project, and these four individuals comprise the Planning and Selection Committee.

A steering committee of HIV and Hepatitis C positive youth was created to provide oversight to ensure that the project remained peer-led at all levels of planning and development. The steering committee meets a minimum of one time per month via teleconference. Steering committee members include a diverse set of skill sets and backgrounds and every attempt was made to ensure that there was representation from all regions of Canada.

In the interest of full transparency, one member of the Planning & Selection Committee is not a peer. The role of allies in the implementation of the project will be determined by the steering committee.