Currently, there are 37.9 million people living with the HIV condition globally. According to the United Nations UN-AIDS project, as many as 9.4 million are living with HIV and don’t know it.
For many years, the cause of HIV has been magnificently advanced by the LGBTQ community and so much good has been accomplished. We are extremely proud of the work that has been done toward overcoming the stigma of HIV and the encouragement that has been given to all sectors of the population to advance the search for a cure.
HIV equally impacts people of the heterosexual and homosexual populations. In fact, 52 percent of people living with HIV are female. and they are often the most neglected when it comes to community.
In addition, there is no social network addressing the concerns of the HIV community in one place. Enter Plus-Friends, an HIV social network launching in early 2020 addressing community, social issues, and medical concerns in a wholistic approach to living well.
Our Plus-Friends platform makes it possible to explore life in an environment that is supportive of HIV positive lifestyles.
And Plus-Friends extends 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.
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, aging with HIV, establish groups with shared interests, set up events, or just hang out.
Whether it is a love of art or architecture, music or film, pets or people, photography or painting, cooking or dining out, indoor or outdoor activities, and so much more. 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 and recognize that everyone brings a valuable contribution to this world. 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-judgmental 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
Connect all people with HIV that have access to the internet and a mobile device or computer.
Provide mental health or group support for those who need it.
Bring attention to the issues surrounding aging.
Provide a supportive community for women and a secondary community for mothers living with HIV.
Help those living in isolation by giving them a sense of community.
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.
Not so long ago people with HIV did not expect to live a long life nor did they expect to be able to live a normal life such as getting married and having children. Science has made all of this possible. Now life for the HIV community has most of the same expectations of normal life – family, retirement, and goals. This places much more importance on protecting health, fitness, retirement planning, insurance, dating and romance, and all of the same interests that are common in a non-HIV population.
In 2018, 1.7 million people became newly infected with HIV. This represents a decline in annual new infections of 18% since 2010, a pace that was far too slow to reach the United Nations’ Fast-Track Target of fewer than 500,000 new infections per year by 2020. Therefore, we must find other ways to improve the quality of life for those living with HIV such as reducing isolation, providing for the elderly, and assisting women.
It is vital to remember that 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. As a result, it is open to everyone and does not accommodate the privacy that people seek and require 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. 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 in new members to have a look at our private social network, we are a completely different platform from Facebook. 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. Plus-Friends provides a place where people can feel comfortable being themselves without the fear of rejection or public humiliation. Our zero-tolerance policy allows us to address issues that might arise and are enforceable by the very fact that we are not a public network.
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 on the medical condition.
Plus-Friends also has a public-facing frontend that helps 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 with HIV.
Groups are a special focus for Plus-Friends. We recognize that shared interests bring people together around the world. Our goal is to provide a platform that allows individuals to start their own groups dedicated to things they love – from crafting to cooking, coffee to wine, gardening to shopping, and running to dancing. Whatever floats your boat – including boats!
For people living with HIV, perhaps more than any other physical condition, privacy is critical. For example, in some countries a person could lose their job if they have HIV. Or their HIV condition could cause the group insurance rates at their place of employment to go up. Having HIV could cause harm to the individual in some locations in the world, and could even cause harm to their families.
In any case, HIV is a very private medical condition that should only be shared by choice of the individual who is living with it.
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.
In addition to its social network, Plus-Friends establishes a foundation that will benefit from a percentage of its sponsorship. This will be used to fund important projects for HIV/AIDS charities that are members of Plus-Friends and have applied through the appropriate channels.