What we do
Introducing Plus Friends - The First Exclusive Social Network for People with HIV
In summer 2019, we will launch the first social network for people around the world who are living with HIV. The purpose of this social network is to provide social interaction, education, and entertainment for all men and women over the age of 18.
Our Plus-Friends platform makes it possible to explore life in an environment that is supportive of HIV positive lifestyles. We aim to extend the opportunities for everyone living with HIV to communicate on a global basis. We are doing so by providing a safe, confidential, and optimistic atmosphere in which to meet other HIV-positive friends.
Modern medicine is rapidly advancing treatment for HIV. Plus-Friends provides a place to share opinions and experiences so that members can make better decisions. In addition, it allows the community to discuss mental health issues, ageing with HIV, establish groups with shared interests, set up events, or just hang out.
Our members can explore what they love without fear of rejection, whether it is a love of art or architecture, pets or people, photography or painting, cooking or dining out, indoor or outdoor activities. The opportunities are limitless.
Everything we do at Plus-Friends is about bringing people together and empowering them to be themselves and to live a more fulfilling and healthy life. We take away the awkwardness of having to conform to the ideas and misconceptions of what it means to have HIV.
We celebrate the unique gifts that each person brings to Plus-Friends. We believe in everyone’s right to celebrate life and live well, connect with new people, be supported by friends, and perhaps even discover love!
Our goal is to provide a global community that provides a caring, non-judgemental environment that empowers people to get what everyone wants and deserves in life -- connection, love and support.
Taking the positive and turning it into a plus - That’s the Plus-Friends Social Network
Why is Plus-Friends right for our time?
- In 2017, about 21.7 million people living with HIV were accessing antiretroviral therapy, up from 17.2 million in 2015 and 8 million in 2010.
- 2 million women living with HIV (aged 15 and older), constituting 52% of all adults living with HIV.
- In 2017, 1.8 million people became newly infected with HIV. This represents a decline in annual new infections of 18% since 2010, a pace far too slow to reach the United Nations’ Fast-Track Target of fewer than 500,000 new infections per year by 2020.
- In some 50 countries of the world, new HIV infections are increasing.
- In 2017, there were 1.8 million children below the age of 15 living with HIV.
People with HIV need the support and mentoring of others who have been through the trauma of discovering they are HIV-positive, are in treatment and have their viral load suppressed.
Connecting people with HIV to one another, allows them to develop relationships without the embarrassment of revealing their status to a potential partner. It also has the added effect of helping to prevent the spread of HIV to the uninfected populous.
Plus-Friends removes the social stigma from HIV within the group and provides a much-needed platform to share knowledge, experiences, provide support, and recommendations.
Plus-Friends also allows validated associations (nonprofits) that support people with HIV and AIDS to have an organizational membership. These are confirmed before the nonprofit is allowed to join in order to verify that the group is working on behalf of those living with the HIV or AIDS condition.
Plus-Friends is not a medical or organizational site. We have chosen to be a social network to help bring life-affirming activities and friendships to those who are HIV-positive and therefore in need of a community. Our focus is not about being ill -- it is about living well and sharing common interests with friends around the world.
The Plus-Friends Experience
The Plus-Friends network provides fast access to essential features and functions for every member – and always for free! We provide members with everything they need to develop their own groups, teach classes, hold webinars, find local social gatherings and events, make new friends, connect with old friends, and so much more all in one exclusive social networking domain.
True to our mission, the new Plus-Friends network focuses on discovering and exploring life! HIV is no longer a killer. It is a condition that can be managed through medication and lifestyle choices. Together, we create communities that empower everyone to find joy and get more out of life.
Plus-Friends Advantages to Members
Plus-Friends is a place of comfort, hope, reassurance and social acceptance. There are many valuable attributes to our network, site and community. Here are just a few:
- No pressure since we are not a dating site.
- Various global and local activities that allow members to move from virtual to real life in their friendships.
- A variety of groups that support shared interests such as cooking, walking, bike riding, coffee, and pubs.
- The latest news relating to HIV, wellness, and fun trends.
- Blogs for internal and external readers relating to mental and physical wellness, aging with HIV, ideas for entertaining, social trends, and treatment updates.
It is our hope to someday sponsor global quarterly events that will contribute to local economies and help build an understanding of HIV as well as provide exciting activities for the members. We see this conference as a combination of science, medical, social and inspirational gatherings with motivational speakers, mental health seminars, leading medical and research presenters, world change leaders, and of course, parties, dinners, and local activities.
Our social impact
Plus-Friends is a Unique Social Innovation
HIV is a medical condition, and therefore, in most countries, is protected by privacy laws. Even though Facebook provides groups for HIV, this forum is a public social network, not a private network. It is open to everyone and therefore does not accommodate the privacy that people seek and prefer for this condition.
While there are closed groups on Facebook, there is a systemic problem with the sharing of information on Facebook that makes many with HIV fearful of participating in this network. Facebook, as you probably know, is under many investigations for breach of privacy and sharing of data. While Plus-friends will use social media as a way of drawing our members to have a look at our private social network, we are a completely different platform from Facebook as we have HIV and security as a primary focus for our membership.
In addition, Facebook and other public networks are often a platform for attacks from haters. We provide a place where people can feel comfortable being themselves without the fear of rejection or public humiliation. Our zero-tolerance policy will allow us to address issues that might arise and are enforceable because we are not a public network.
People with HIV who work in corporate environments are at risk of exposure in public social media, particularly in countries where companies pay for group insurance policies. Public knowledge of an HIV condition can cause individuals insurance cost to go up across the board for everyone within the organization.
Plus Friends Social Impact
HIV-infected people have a hard time finding and meeting others like themselves because HIV is shrouded with silence. As a result, these individuals often live in isolation.
Plus-Friends will help educate and provide a normal life for people living in the shadows by focusing on living and not the medical condition.
Plus-Friends also has a public-facing frontend that helps to educate all people and encourages the understanding and acceptance of this medical condition.
People with HIV want a place to discuss the subject, treatments, learn about new ideas and medical options, discuss medical results, anxiety and other mental health issues without fear of being ostracized. They also desire an opportunity not to have their condition overshadow life and community.
More than half of the people with HIV that are over the age of 18 are female, and these women have no private area to discuss issues of concern that are unique to women.
There are no exact numbers to let us know how many of these women are mothers currently raising children. However, it is clear that there are immeasurable difficulties encountered by these families each day that have no outlet for answers. The same can be said for single fathers.
There is no social network addressing community, social and medical concerns all at once. Plus-Friends is focused on helping people with HIV live a happy and healthy life, not on the illness.
The average age of HIV infection is 35, and most people with HIV that are on treatment will live an average lifespan of 74 or older. Aging with HIV is a critical concern around the world and can be a very lonely process. Part of the mission of Plus-Friends is to improve the quality of life and social connections among the aging HIV population.
Another critical goal of Plus-Friends is to keep the lives of people with HIV private so that people in all nations can benefit from this network, including those in countries where being gay or HIV positive can lead to arrest, victimization, and even death.
The Plus-Friends advertising model will allow for the creation of a foundation to help offset the cost of medicine, elder housing, single parenting and emotional support animal (ESA) rescue and training in countries.
Most importantly, we provide a free community for people with HIV, unlike existing HIV social services (dating and magazines) that have a cost associated with membership.
Plus-Friends also allows medical providers to speak directly to people with HIV as opposed to paying millions to advertise to the general public. Therefore, it has the potential to help lower the cost of medications by improving target reach.
Plus-Friends a place of comfort, hope, reassurance and social acceptance.
This project was last updated 11 months ago