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SXSW: Positive+1 is more than just a social media app

Keep this first-of-its-kind resource center and social network for the HIV community on your radar.
SXSW: Positive+1 is more than just a social media app Credit: Positive+1 / Mashable Composite

SXSW's Creative Industry Expo has offered some interesting and WTF tech this year. For us, however, one of the standouts on the floor was Positive+1.

The UK-based social media app, founded by Christian Mercer-Hall, is an online social networking platform that offers sanctuary for those affected by HIV. Positive+1 provides a mix of connection, education, and genuine support that goes beyond the screen.

Launched in November 2023, the app is in its early days. At just over 5,000 users, according to Head of PR Lyle McAdam, the platform is meant to bring together individuals living with HIV, their loved ones, and professionals working within the field. Thus Mercer-Hall's goal is to create a "vibrant and diverse community" built on shared understanding.

The app — eight years in the making — is the first of its kind for those affected by HIV. What makes it unique from other apps for the HIV community is that Positive+1 is a resource center with the connectivity of social networking. According to McAdam, whom I spoke with at SXSW, it's a place where people with HIV and their supporters can meet, share knowledge, find important resources, and make genuine connections with others who get what they're going through.

Education plays a crucial role in the response to HIV. According to KFF (formerly the Kaiser Family Foundation), "approximately 39 million people are currently living with HIV, and tens of millions of people have died of AIDS-related causes since the beginning of the epidemic." However, despite recent medical advancements that make living with HIV possible, there is still a massive stigma surrounding the disease, its risks, and how HIV transmits.

Positive+1 addresses this head-on by providing a plethora of resources. From expert articles to personal narratives of resilience, the platform ensures that knowledge and empowerment go hand in hand. Additionally, the team at Positive+1 has been championed by a network of charity partners, including the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, AIDS United, AHF Pharmacy, Aid for AIDS Nevada (AFAN), and the HIV/AIDS Policy team at The White House.

As stated before, the app recently launched, but it's available now on the App Store and Google Play Store. The app is available globally in the U.S., Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

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