The BC Person’s With AIDS Society (BCPWA) is now known as Positive Living Society of British Columbia.
Just over a month ago members of Western Canada’s largest HIV/AIDS organization renamed itself to Positive Living Society of British Columbia (Positive Living BC).
Known as the British Columbia Persons With AIDS Society (BCPWA) for 25 years, Positive Living BC will build on the Society’s history but will now do so without specifying the virus or the disease in its title.
“Twenty-five years ago, HIV-positive British Columbians could adequately connect as ‘persons with AIDS’ because that’s who we expected to become,” says Glyn Townson, Board Chair of Positive Living BC. “Thanks to radical advancements made in HIV treatment over the past decade, most long-term survivors and newly diagnosed individuals in BC can now live with HIV as a chronic inflammatory illness rather than a precursor to a terminal one. Our members’ decision to align our Society’s name with the spirit of this lifestyle marks a new era of hope, promise and longevity for BC’s HIVpositive community.”
Positive Living BC’s membership is comprised of more than 4,900 HIV-positive individuals, making it the largest HIV/AIDS organization in Western Canada, and the largest HIV-positive member-based and directed organization in Canada.
“By choosing to remove ‘AIDS’ from our public identity, Society members have sent a strong message about the role HIV-positive individuals intend to play in BC’s cultural landscape,” explained Townson. “Old labels no longer apply, and no longer will they set us apart from any other British Columbian. ’Positive Living’ defines us by the active, healthy approach we now take to life with our disease.”
Members arrived at the new name after an intensive brainstorming and voting process. In December 2010, the Society’s Board of Directors responded to members’ growing concern about the relevance of BCPWA’s brand by petitioning members to put forth suggestions for a new Society name. In January 2011, the Board shortlisted the suggestions and presented members with a mail-in ballot listing seven name-change options. Voting members ranked the options by order of personal preference.
Positive Living Society of British Columbia (Positive Living BC)
Positive Living BC mission: the Positive Living Society of British Columbia exists to enable persons living with AIDS and HIV disease to empower themselves through mutual support and collective action. From our personal struggles and challenges come our courage and strength.
Visit http://www.positivelivingbc.org for more information.