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AIDS activists changed the world. As a part of the AIDS Activist History Project (AAHP), we have been learning about AIDS activists’ work in Canada. Now, we invite you to discover more about the history of AIDS activism. We invite you to connect with us, and to use our materials for your own research and thinking.  


Welcome to the AIDS Activist History Project website! 

AIDS activists changed the world. They organized, strategized, and put their bodies on the line. They worked for change in Canada, and worked to extend the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS.

As a part of the AAHP, we have been learning about AIDS activists’ work in the Canadian context. We are interviewing social movement organizers who were active in the 1980s and  1990s in Halifax/Nova Scotia, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. We have also gathered ephemera from archives and from AIDS activists across Canada. So far, we have conducted over 30 interviews and recovered over 600 pieces of ephemera, which are (or will be!) available for display in our collection.

Now, we invite you to discover more about the history of AIDS activism. We invite you to to read the interview transcripts, watch the videos, and check out our (ever-growing collection) of ephemera. We invite you to discover more about the comprehensive history of AIDS activism by visiting our interviews page, our ephemera page and our memorials page.

We invite you to connect with us.  Send us any comments, suggestions or corrections (for example, about the spelling of people’s names, places and organizations). We encourage you to contact us if you would like to be interviewed about your involvement in HIV/AIDS activism in the Canadian context. We want to talk with people who worked with PWA/PHA groups, AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), AIDS ACTION NOW!, and other smaller organizations.  Please get in touch with us if you’d like to be interviewed, or if you know someone who you think we should talk with. We would love to speak with you and include your stories and history!

We also invite you to use our materials for your own research and thinking.  Please feel free to use these materials for your own work, and, if so, please get in touch to share about your work. We look forward to connecting with others, and to seeing traces of this project in others’ work.


About the project

The AIDS Activist History Project is hosted at Carleton University by Alexis Shotwell and a team of students; Gary Kinsman is the co-researcher. We’re working with the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives on documenting this history, in conjunction with AIDS activists across Canada. The project is supported by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

This project is hosted on unceded and unsurrendered Algonquin territory. As we document one part of the history of “Canada,” we acknowledge the genocidal and colonial context of this part of Turtle Island and honour the historical and ongoing resistance and resilience of Indigenous people here and elsewhere.

To learn more about the AAHP (including about our team and our approach), visit our research team page and our research page.