This year marks the 30th anniversary of the first episode of the Dr. Peter Diaries. It was an honour to remember with Shirley Young, Dr. Peter’s mother. Peter was diagnosed with AIDS in 1986 and filmed 111 episodes before his death. The series was nominated for an academy award.
My statement in the House of Commons to commemorate World AIDS Day and the Dr. Peter Diaries:
On World AIDS Day I honour a Canadian hero who 30 years ago turned tragedy into hope.
During the AIDS pandemic, Dr. Peter Jepson Young, a young Vancouver physician, contracted AIDS. Instead of submitting to fear, he chose to shed a light on the deadly disease, through a CBC series, the Dr. Peter Diaries.
From 1990 until his death in 1992, for 111 episodes, Canadians glued to our TVs shared Dr. Peter’s pain, watched the disease devastate his body, listened, as he explained every stage in clear detail, with candor and humour.
Nominated for an Academy Award, Dr. Peter Diaries fought stereotypes and broke down the social taboos around HIV and AIDS, shaping how Canadians perceived and understood the disease and those who suffered it.
Dr. Peter’s legacy lives on, in the work of the Dr. Peter Centre, in Vancouver, one of the world’s most progressive care facilities for persons with HIV/AIDS.