Dr Peter Centre

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 43, No. 3, April 2001, Page 119 Editorials

In the late 1980s I was privileged to be involved in the care of a unique young man with AIDS. Dr Peter Jepson-Young developed severe Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia during the first month after he completed his internship and battled the disease for over 5 years. This was in the early days of the HIV epidemic and the only antiviral available was AZT. In the later years of his fight, Peter developed extensive Kaposi’s sarcoma and cytomegalic virus retinitis severe enough to eventually render him blind.

In the early 1990s Peter decided to go public with his experiences and many of you will remember the nightly "Dr Peter" episodes following the evening news on CBC television. With this tool Peter sought to describe to the public what it was like to live with HIV disease from the unique perspective of a young physician. A collection of these vignettes was made into a documentary that was nominated for an Oscar.

Peter survived longer than medical science predicted he should at the time. He credited this in large part to the enormous amount of support that he received from his family, friends, partner, colleagues, and the public—not to mention his guide dog, Harvey! He was keenly aware that the HIV infection was rapidly moving into a segment of society where many individuals were not as fortunate as he: the homeless, destitute, and intravenous drug users. He had a dream of creating a haven for future sufferers, a "substitute home" to provide, in some measure, the supportive environment that he had been so fortunate to have.

The Dr Peter Centre is now a reality, providing day and residential care to more than 50 individuals with HIV disease. For many, it provides a stable anchor in their otherwise chaotic lives, making it possible to organize antiviral medications and helping to keep them out of hospital. For some, it is a home in a sense that they have never experienced before: safe, nonjudgmental, and welcoming. A 26-year-old man recently celebrated his birthday there and burst into tears at the sight of his cake; no one had ever made him a birthday cake before.

The Dr Peter Centre has so far been housed in an older part of St Paul’s Hospital but is now launching a major fund-raising campaign to build a permanent home with greatly expanded residential capacity. If you are looking for a different and very worthwhile place to donate some dollars, please consider the Dr Peter Centre—it’s making a difference.


Lindsay M. Lawson, MD. Dr Peter Centre. BCMJ, Vol. 43, No. 3, April, 2001, Page(s) 119 - Editorials.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

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