Andrew Johnson passed away unexpectedly at home on April 9, 2008 from the long term effects of Lupus, an illness he had been dealing with for almost 25 years. He was 46.
Andrew was involved in the HIV/AIDS movement from the very beginning and it was the focus of his life’s work. He began as an early volunteer with the AIDS Committee of Toronto and his passion for caregiving lead him to become a Registered Nurse. He moved to Vancouver in 1992 to begin his Masters degree, during which he worked as a home care community nurse in the downtown eastside of the city.
Andrew volunteered on the Boards of AIDS Vancouver and the Dr. Peter Centre. He eventually focussed on his deep commitment to community development and action as Executive Director at AIDS Vancouver from 1998 to 2002, where he was proud to have contributed to strengthening and growing both the Case Management and Gay Men’s Health programs.
Nationally, Andrew was a founding member of CANAC (the Canadian Association of Nurses in AIDS Care) and was active on their Board for many years. He was a board member of ICAD (Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development) and for the Canadian AIDS Society and he proudly served on the Federal Government Ministerial Council for HIV/AIDS.
During the last 7 years or so, Andrew returned to frontline nursing, and was also a nursing educator and patient educator. He worked at Dr. Peter, Vancouver Community College, and at Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital on the HIV/AIDS Unit 10C, in IV Therapy and at the John Ruedy Immunodeficiency Clinic.
Andrew wrote the manual ” Living with Dying, Dying at Home” for ACT in 1994 to provide support for friends, families and loved ones who had become caregivers and were trying to cope with the daily reality of caregiving. The manual became the basis for the growth of care team networks in the 90s – important work that carries on today.
Andrew also worked internationally in various capacities for the International AIDS Conferences and collaborated with HIV community groups in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe. He played an integral coordinating role at the landmark 1996 AIDS conference in Vancouver and established networks of friends and communities that stayed with him for the rest of his life.