Credit: Positive+1 / Mashable Composite

SXSW’s Creative Industry Expo showcased some intriguing and surprising technology this year. However, one standout from the event was Positive+1.


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Positive+1, based in the UK and founded by Christian Mercer-Hall, is not your typical social media platform. It is designed as an online social networking space specifically catering to individuals impacted by HIV. This app offers a combination of connection, education, and authentic support that extends beyond the digital realm.

Launched in November 2023, Positive+1 is still in its early stages with just over 5,000 users, as shared by Head of PR Lyle McAdam. The platform aims to bring together people living with HIV, their loved ones, and professionals in the field. Mercer-Hall’s vision is to establish a “vibrant and diverse community” based on mutual understanding.

Developed over eight years, this app is the first of its kind for the HIV community. What sets Positive+1 apart is its fusion of a resource center with the social connectivity of a networking platform. According to McAdam, whom I met at SXSW, it serves as a space where individuals affected by HIV and their supporters can connect, exchange knowledge, access essential resources, and form genuine connections with others who can relate to their experiences.

HIV education is vital in addressing the impact of the disease. According to KFF (formerly the Kaiser Family Foundation), there are approximately 39 million people living with HIV worldwide, with millions having succumbed to AIDS-related causes since the epidemic began. Despite medical advancements enabling people to live with HIV, there remains significant stigma surrounding the disease, its risks, and transmission.

Positive+1 directly tackles these challenges by offering an array of resources ranging from expert articles to personal stories of resilience. The platform emphasizes the integration of knowledge and empowerment. Moreover, Positive+1 is supported by a network of charitable 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.

While still new, the app is already available on both the App Store and Google Play Store. It can be accessed globally in the U.S., Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

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Chance Townsend
Assistant Editor, General Assignments

Based in Austin, Texas, Chance Townsend is an Assistant Editor at Mashable. He holds a Master’s in Journalism from the University of North Texas, with his research focusing on online communities, dating apps, and professional wrestling.

In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, sleeping, and enduring the disappointments of the Lions and Pistons. For any interesting stories or recipes, you can contact him via email at [email protected].


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