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About Us

Brian Finch, Founder

I’ve been HIV-positive for over 25 years.

During the crisis years of the ’80s and early ’90s, humour and advocacy were the two things that carried me through.

A native Winnipegger, I began volunteering and working at various AIDS service organizations in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario following my diagnosis. In response to overt stigma and discrimination, I went public to the media in 1988 and sought out speaking engagements in order to put a real face on HIV.

After years of front-line advocacy, I took a long break in the late ’90s, becoming a makeup artist and still volunteering behind the scenes. For example, I coordinated makeup for DQ97, a fundraiser for Casey House, a Toronto home for palliative care.

In 2005, I came back on the scene as a Canadian Treatment Action Council (CTAC) board member. I satt on that council as the representative for gay men and, over the course of my tenure with CTAC, I had the experiences of a lifetime.

During the 2006 International AIDS Conference in Toronto, I was only three weeks into a grueling anti-retroviral regime but, with the help of my co-op, I organized and staged the successful pillow-case demonstration against federal health minister Tony Clement during the conference’s opening ceremonies.

This successful protest was recorded in the Ontario HIV Treatment Network’s documentary, Positive Voices: Leading Together, where I am one of five conference attendees followed throughout the Toronto 2006 conference.

But it was my experiences working in Rwanda that were truly pivotal and transformative. Noone has ever touched my life as much as the women, children and men of Rwanda. Their story inspired my Toronto co-op to raise over $5,000 for the We-Act Microcredit project, which employs disenfranchised HIV-positive survivors of the genocide and gives them back a meaningful life. As a result, we received the Jim MacDonald Award for Social Change from the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada.

After travelling across Canada and then the world, I finally went multimedia on the World Wide Web last year, as I and my esteemed colleagues (including one PositiveLite.com blogger) joined the HIV stigma campaign’s www.hivstigma.com in 2009, following my long standing blog Acid Reflux, created in 2005. 

John McCullagh - Publisher

John McCullagh is the publisher of PositiveLite.com. He's an HIV-positive gay man who’s been active in Toronto's LGBTQ community since immigrating to Canada from his native Britain in 1975. A social worker by profession, he's worked in government and the not-for-profit sector in both front-line and management positions. His experience includes research, policy analysis, strategic planning, program development, project management, and communications. 

In the early years of the AIDS epidemic, John was a counsellor at the Toronto Counselling Centre for Lesbians and Gays (now known as David Kelley Services), an organization he co-founded and which was one of the first agencies in Toronto to offer professional counselling to those infected with and affected by HIV. 

Now retired, John volunteers with the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) and is a board member of CATIE, Canada’s national HIV and Hepatitis C knowledge broker.  

John regularly contributes articles to PositiveLite.com about his personal experiences of living with HIV and about issues relevant to Canada's HIV and LGBTQ communities.

The Vision

PositiveLite.com is the fresh alternative to other sites that deal with HIV and AIDS from the perspective solely of illness or disability.

Ours is a very personal view. Above all, we are by and for people living with HIV and our allies, service providers, advocates, friends and lovers. We take a holistic approach to HIV, recognizing that it is far from being just a medical condition, or even a continually developing news story of global proportions, but often a life-changing phenomenon for those who experience it.  For some of us, being HIV-positive is a big part of our lives, others not so much, but in each case we are never defined by our virus.  All of us lead complete lives and at PositiveLite.com we endeavour to reflect all aspects of those lives, including some facets that have nothing at all to do with illness or disability.

PositiveLite.com honours and exemplifies the Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV (GIPA) principle by giving people with HIV a place to express themselves, to develop their skills, to become empowered.

We have a strong commitment to the community we serve, to foster dialogue between community members and to forge strong and lasting relationships with global, national, local and individual partners, while remaining an independent entity .

We strive to reflect the diversity of our community in who we are, what we publish and the variety of opinions expressed.

We are not afraid to advocate for those things we believe in.

We are respectful always.

We have a sense of humour and you will see that reflected in PositiveLite.com often, but we take our work seriously and have a commitment to professional standards of journalism, responsible reporting, careful analysis and a desire to both inform and entertain.

We do this for love, not money. 

Contact Us

PositiveLite.com Ltd.

To make a general comment, a recommendation, to ask a question or to alert us to technical issues with the website, please email John McCullagh at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For editorial enquiries or to submit an item for publication, please email Bob Leahy at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For advertising enquiries, please email John McCullagh at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.