The AIDS Network of Edmonton Society, founded by Michael Phair and five others, was incorporated as a non-profit society in 1984. The Society was formed to respond to the growing number of AIDS related diseases being diagnosed amongst the gay community world-wide and the first identified case of AIDS (for a man named Ross Armstrong) in Edmonton. The Society’s mandate was to offer support to individuals with AIDS and ARC (Aids Related Complex), as well as provide education for the general public and high risk groups, and liaise with other agencies and institutions. The Network utilized the services of a large corps of trained volunteers, who were involved with support groups, individual counselling, and a befriending program.
A large part of the Society’s efforts, once charitable status was granted, involved fundraising, and numerous benefits and charity events centered on the goal of raising monies for the Society and its work. Money from fundraising went to producing informational pamphlets and overheads for slides, and acquiring office space for the AIDS Network. The AIDS Network established GMOC (Gay Men’s Outreach Committee) ca. 1991 as a peer education project for gay and bisexual men, with the stated goal of being “positive role models for gay or bisexual men and to support them in making healthy lifestyle choices”. (Folder 23). In 1999, the AIDS Network of Edmonton changed its name to HIV Edmonton, and its work is ongoing.