Raymond Berger (1955 – 2008)

A long-time activist in the HIV/AIDS movement, Raymond joined the Board of the Canadian AIDS Society in 2004. His belief that everyone needs to work together to enrich the lives of people and communities living with HIV/AIDS compelled him to join the Canadian organization, where he represented Quebec’s interests. He brought energy, passion and a strong francophone voice to our organization and significantly enhanced our capacity to offer our services and our resources in both official languages through his ongoing advocacy.

Serving as Vice Chair on the Canadian AIDS Society Board of Directors, Raymond played an active role as Chair of the organization’s HIV Committee and as member of the Positive Prevention Working Group, the GIPA Toolkit Advisory Committee and the National Program Partners Committee for the 5th Canadian HIV/AIDS Skills Building Symposium. He was also Co-chair of GNP+ North America.

Advocating for the right to use cannabis for medical purposes was an issue to which Raymond was particularly dedicated. He sat on the National Steering Committee of the Use of Cannabis for Medical Purposes project, which guided the production of the report Cannabis as Therapy for People Living with HIV/AIDS: “Our Right, Our Choice” and continued his work in support of the cause by serving as member of the Medical Cannabis Working Group.

Raymond had been involved in HIV/AIDS work since 1987 as a volunteer, trainer, community outreach worker and administrator with organizations such as Centre Sida Aide Montréal (CSAM), AIDS Community Care Montreal (ACCM), and Comité des personnes atteintes du VIH du Québec (CPAVIH). At CPAVIH, he eventually served as the board’s Vice Chair, representing the organization on the board of Montreal’s gay and lesbian community centre, as well as at the Confédération des organismes de personnes handicappés du Québec (Québec’s confederation of persons with disabilities organizations).

Raymond was outspoken, strong-willed, kind, fun, social and optimistic. He had been living with HIV since 1987 and laughed at the fact that he had already beaten the odds a few times. He maintained this drive and determination right until his last days. He will be greatly missed by his many colleagues and friends.

Raymond’s family and friends have kindly requested that donations be made either to the Maison d’Hérelle (www.maisondherelle.org) or to the Canadian AIDS Society (www.cdnaids.ca) in Raymond’s memory. We are grateful and honoured.

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