Closing of St. Paul's Hospital’s AIDS ward is symbolic of progress

For more than a decade, Ward 10C was ground zero in Canada’s struggle against the AIDS epidemic.

An otherwise sterile and unremarkable room within Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital, Ward 10C was a place where patients came to die. The generic name was code for the hospital’s AIDS unit.

When the first patients were moved into the ward in 1997, at the peak of the epidemic, nearly one person was dying of AIDS daily. The disease itself carried so many stigmas that the ward’s name was a necessary invention to spirit patients from the emergency room to the AIDS unit without causing a scene.


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