Born 23.2.47 – Died 2.3.90
Knowledge Equals Power!
Peter Charlton was a co-founder of People Living with HIV/AIDS Victoria with Chris Carter. He worked hard to establish the constitution and rules for the organisation, always ensuring that maximum control must reside in the hands of the members themselves.
Peter lobbied the Health Department to get the first worker for the organisation funded and in late 1988 was appointed to the role, working in a tiny office in VAC/GMHC’s Johnston St offices. During his time in the role he sought to involve many positive people in the work of the organisation, worked on the development of a community centre for PLWHA, helped create the magazine Positive Living as a PLWHA Vic publication, and advocated strongly for increased access to AIDS treatments. He saw his principal role as informing the community, including positive people themselves, about the issues which surrounded HIV/AIDS and how to deal with them. He often used the phrase during this time, “Knowledge equals power”.
As Peter’s health deteriorated his activism took on a zeal that inspired his friends, co-workers and the authorities with whom he was advocating. As the first staff member at VAC/GMHC to die from HIV/AIDS, his loss had a profound effect on the staff of the organisation who had grown to love and respect him. The importance of his work and the crucial role which he played in establishing PLWHA Victoria is acknowledged here today.