The dynamic history of HIV in Vancouver,
told by and for those who were there.


To celebrate their 30 year anniversary as the first AIDS service organization in Canada (opening in 1983), AIDS Vancouver wanted to connect with the community in a unique and thoughtful way.


Be the Change Group envisioned and developed the 30 30 campaign, a comprehensive timeline of the history of HIV in British Columbia told by the people who were there. The project required 9 months of research through the use of numerous archives, interviews, and historical documents.

The team's hard work resulted in 59 interviews with the leaders in the epidemic and the filming of 37, including medical health officers, community organizers, nurses, doctors, and the loved ones of those that were lost. One video story was released every day in July, culminating in the release of the final video at a fundraising gala and celebration on the day of AIDS Vancouver's 30th anniversary.


The campaign is hosted on a permanent website and is one of the most comprehensive HIV timelines in Canadian history. We now have a historical archive like no other documenting the fight against HIV in Vancouver, ensuring that we’ll never forget the stories and voices of those that survived and those that were lost.


Campaign Design
Video Production
Event Management
Marketing and Communications


Vancouver, Canada




Brandy Svendson
Amer Alkhatib
Jillian Kowalchuk
Jamie Forrest
Tlell Nazarko
Natalie Chan
Sharan Pawa


One of the most comprehensive timelines to date was produced. Over 500 unique sources were reviewed and extracted from the BC Gay & Lesbian Archives, AIDS Vancouver historical documents and academic sites to produce a long withstanding resource for our community.



59 leading clinicians, government officials, community workers, families, and people living with HIV were interviewed.

37 individuals shared the stories of their personal and professional experiences working and living through the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Vancouver.


All of our video stories were researched and produced in-house. Our team retrieved never before seen footage of Gaetan Dugas (famously nicknamed “Patient Zero” by the Atlanta Centre for Disease Control) participating in the 1984 AIDS Vancouver community forum. This was the first and only footage to be found of Dugas. The video has since been recognized worldwide.

Before 1983

This is the story of our city’s West End before the epidemic hit, and how AIDS Vancouver came to be.

Play Video


The first AIDS Vancouver community forum was held, and Gaetan Dugas takes the mic.

Play Video


The volunteers have been the heart and soul of AIDS Vancouver since day one. This is the story of one volunteer, who teaches us that it’s never too late to change the world.

Play Video


Our nurses and health care providers at St. Paul’s hospital set the standard for compassionate care. This is the story of two nurses on the front line.

Play Video


Our scientists went beyond the lab to advocate, sacrifice and persevere, in turn saving the lives of millions. This is the story of one of our top scientists, Dr. O.

Play Video


Valerie’s fight to come back from being homeless on the downtown east side, to being a community leader, is a true testament to the human spirit.

Play Video


HIV has taught us so many things, and our achievements are vast – our leaders re-count them all.

Play Video


This powerful love story was screened at the Vancouver International Queer Film Festival and went on to win the Judge’s Award at the 41st Northwest Filmmakers Festival.

Watch Video


The 30 30 campaign culminated in a fundraising gala for over 400 people held at the historical Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver.

“My patients became my source of inspiration from a clincal perspective, but they also became the informants, in terms of culture, as to where the gaps were in the work that needed to be done.”

- Dr. Julio Montaner

“I remember watching a news clip that really gave me pause – a baby in San Francisco had been diagnosed with AIDS. The only risk factor was a blood transfusion...and I realized – it’s in the blood.”

- Dr. Brian Willoughby

“We have addressed what the
experience is and what HIV
means in terms of affecting
your heart and soul.”

- Marcie Summers

“The Gay is Good Campaign
To me, that was a real milestone.”

- Dr. Mark Gilbert

We are still facing similar challenges since the beginning of our epidemic, sharing our stories is even more important to create the long-term changes have yet to achieve equally. Be the Change Group ensured these stories, research and design were captured in a meaningful way that engaged the audience and conveyed the importance of how far we have progressed and still have to go.

- Brian Chittock
Executive Director,
AIDS Vancouver