What We Do

Learn about AVI Health and Community Services' comprehensive programs promoting health, dignity, and well-being across Vancouver Island

What We Do

Our Mission

AVI’s mission is to promote health, dignity, and well-being for all people affected by HIV, HCV, and substance use by delivering sex-positive and harm-reduction-based education, prevention, and support services.

Our Vision

AVI envisions a community where all people affected by HIV, HCV, or substance use have equitable access to the support and services necessary to experience optimal health and well-being.

AVI Health & Community Services (AVI) has offices in the communities of Greater Victoria, Nanaimo, the Comox Valley, and Campbell River. Our catchment area includes all of the Gulf Islands.

We provide services for people living with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), AIDS (autoimmune deficiency syndrome), HCV (hepatitis C virus), people who use drugs, trans folks, gay men, bisexual men, queer men, and men who have sex with men. Our services are available across Vancouver Island. Please contact an AVI office near you for support.

AVI provides education and prevention information to schools, the broader community, and populations at increased risk of contracting HIV and/or hepatitis C. Evidence demonstrates that comprehensive prevention programs can help to effectively contain HIV, hepatitis C, and other communicable diseases.

Though our Positive Wellness Program, AVI Health & Community Services provides integrated services to individuals living with HIV and/or hepatitis C, including:

  • advocacy and support with income assistance, health care services, employment, housing, disability status applications and legal matters
  • short-term counseling focused on immediate needs and outcomes
  • non-judgmental education and support about symptoms, treatment, managing side effects, and nutrition

AVI’s effectiveness comes from our role in the community and our connections with the populations most infected by, and at risk of, contracting HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and other communicable diseases. Throughout our large volunteer base and community partnerships, we effectively engage with and support difficult-to-reach populations. 

AVI Health and Community Services: A Brief History

On September 17, 1985, five men (Wayne Cook, Don MacIvor, Roy Salonin, John Spencer, and Grant Sullivan) sat around a kitchen table and decided it was time to meet the challenge posed by the AIDS epidemic on Vancouver Island. These five men saw the growing need for accurate and up-to-date information and services relating to HIV/AIDS. That evening saw the birth of AIDS Vancouver Island (now AVI Health and Community Services), with the founders forming the first Board of Directors.

The society was subsequently incorporated in BC and registered under certificate number S20925 on January 24, 1986 under the legal name of The Vancouver Island Aids Society. Initial funding for the society’s expenses came from a benefit and charitable donations. There were no paid staff and a small office space was obtained at no charge. Over the past 30 years, the need for HIV/AIDS related programs and services has continued to grow, and in 2019 AIDS Vancouver Island changed its name to AVI Health and Community Services to reflect the breadth of services offered. AVI has continued to receive support from individuals and organizations in the communities they serve including the Public Health Agency of Canada, Island Health, and the United Way.