Dating can be difficult enough for the single person in 2015, amidst Tinder hookups and instant messages that can make connecting deeply cumbersome. But imagine looking for “the one” while living with a disease that currently has no cure. Being HIV-positive and searching for love has its hang ups even in the new millennium, where we’ve come so far in treatment advancement.
The medical field has found effective treatments to reduce viral load and prevent the spread of the disease through the use of PrEP (or pre-exposure prophylaxis). But ignorance and stigma still envelop the public’s awareness of HIV-positive persons. A positive status doesn’t excommunicate anyone from dating or finding love. Still, for many who are undereducated about living with HIV, their scope is dismal.
The Internet is filled with several websites and communities for the HIV-positive community, one of the most popular being POZ, an online resource and personals database for HIV+ persons looking for advice, education and support. In the latest of website ventures in this arena, 30-year-old Atlanta native Luvenia Jackson has thrown her hat into the ring of HIV-positive supportive communities to create her own solution to the growing need for those living with HIV to find love.
Infinity Loves ATL is an Atlanta-based dating site set to launch December 20, that will provide a sex-positive community where HIV positive individuals can find meaningful, fulfilling relationships with local singles in search of the same. Luvenia’s inspiration to create Infinity Loves ATL stems from her work as a patient account representative at an infectious disease center that focuses primarily on the LGBTQ community.
“I lost an uncle to complications with HIV/AIDS in 2013, and we were extremely close,” Luvenia says. “This is what inspired me to begin the site.” As of now, Atlanta ranks number five among U.S. cities when it comes to the rates of new diagnoses of HIV. By focusing on the metro Atlanta area, Luvenia Jackson hopes to reduce the stigma centered on HIV. “My site is open to other states, but my goal is to give back to my community first and eventually affect the world.”
Unlike traditional sites, InfinityLovesATL.com will provide testing locations for those who may not be aware of their status and list links to care for those who test positive for HIV. Eventually Jackson hopes to add co-pay assistance to help offset costs for those who are currently in treatment or seeking treatment.
One of the issues many living with HIV face when entering the dating world is fear of disclosing their status to those who may not be as educated about the disease. Fear of being judged and not seen for who they are is often a concern, but Luvenia intends to provide a community where that fear doesn’t exist.
“Some people are not comfortable with disclosing their status to someone who may not be educated about HIV or fear that individual accept them because of their status,” says Luvenia. “At Infinity Loves ATL, members will find other individuals that can relate and understand because the site is solely for those living with HIV/AIDS.”
The new HIV-positive dating site will include video chat along with various features to help individuals “find a soulmate for life.” Infinity Loves ATL is open to all sexual orientations, because HIV doesn’t discriminate against age, gender or orientation. Currently the site is running a free 14-day subscription promotion for the first 300 members to sign up prior to launch.
Jackson intends on enlisting the help of medical experts in the field of infectious disease and HIV treatment, to educate members of her site about how to live fulfilling lives while fighting the disease. With education and more awareness, the public may move into more positive mindsets about HIV positive individuals and accept that there’s life and love beyond the disease.
To find out more about the launch of Infinity Loves ATL, follow the site’s Instagram @Infinitylovesatl.
Glamazon Tyomi is a freelance writer, model and sex educator with a deeply rooted passion for spreading the message of sex positivity and encouraging the masses to embrace their sexuality. Her website, www.glamerotica101.com, reaches internationally as a source for advice and information for the sexually active/curious. Follow her on Twitter at @glamazontyomi.