The IDC is located at St. Paul’s Hospital, in the west end of Vancouver, close to the gay village. In the 1980s, the hospital welcomed people with AIDS and AIDS-defining illnesses to receive care. The IDC grew out of the hospital’s commitment to serve people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, when the impact of HIV in the Downtown Eastside became apparent, due to injection drug use, the IDC responded to the needs of this new population. In 2003, the clinic was transformed into a comprehensive interdisciplinary clinic committed to providing low-barrier access to complete HIV care for the most vulnerable to address gaps in treatment.
In 2010, the IDC received money from the STOP (Seek and Treat for Optimal Prevention) Project, with which it further lowered barriers to care. To accommodate patients’ schedules, it expanded its clinic hours to cover four evenings a week. It added specialized nursing and social worker resources in mental health and addictions to better serve patients living with these challenges, and peer navigators to facilitate engagement in care. It also added a dietitian, who helps patients plan healthier meals within the constraints of their skills and their resources. The IDC also introduced point-of-care testing for HIV-negative people seeking an HIV test.