It's simple. People do better emotionally when they have support.
People with HIV often do not even tell their own family about their status. Support groups — in person or online — help connect people who are all going through the same thing.
“Some people need a support system —
people they can reach out to when they’re scared —
help connect people that are all going through the same thing.”
- Dennis W., Positive Peers Member
Positive Peers is an easy to use smartphone app with the potential to help people with HIV better manage their condition. It also offers a safe way to connect people with HIV to a supportive community.
Positive Peers is specifically built for young adults, ages 13 to 34, who are living with HIV. It's a confidential tool connecting young people with HIV to care and to social support. Our app offers healthcare information, social networking, and self-management tools to support HIV-related, holistic care.
Specifically, Positive Peers can help connect you to HIV to care, remind you of doctor appointments and to take medications, connect you to a supportive community of individuals just like you, and provide the latest HIV/AIDS news and research so you can stay on top of your health more effectively
Positive Peers Project Director, Jennifer Smith, often stressed the importance of community at her HIV support groups – even encouraging participants to exchange phone numbers. Knowing that they connect on social media, she piloted a secret, private Facebook group. But Smith’s clients wanted something more: their own social network.
In 2015, the HIV/AIDS Bureau at the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), provided funding to 10 communities to develop digital media tools, including smartphone apps, to connect people with HIV to treatment and help them stay in treatment. MetroHealth was one of those communities.
The idea, when it was hatched in 2015, was that patients using the app/private social network would be more involved in their health care, feel less isolated and would be better prepared to live life with HIV. Data suggest that is all true: The Positive Peers community is 3.2 times more likely to achieve viral suppression, according to a recent evaluation by researchers from Kent State University College of Public Health.
Today, MetroHealth continues to seek input from a community advisory board (CAB), comprised of young people living with HIV to share their ideas and suggestions. Their guidance is invaluable and helps us maintain the best app possible.
Top left: Positive Peers Principal Investigator Dr. Ann Avery, Former Project Coordinator Josh Kratz, and Project Director Jen McMillen Smith. Top right: Former Project Coordinator Josh Kratz and Josh Robbin of I'm Still Josh HIV Blog. Bottom: Positive Peers Principal Investigator Dr. Ann Avery and Arisce Wanzer and Olutayo from the Truvada for #PrEP commercial.
The Positive Peers App is available ONLY only through a confidential registration process. Click the button below to get started!
Positive Peers is a password-protected, tailored smartphone app with a private, stigma-free, supportive community to support young people living with HIV. The app is accessible only through a confidential registration process. Once you become a member, you can:
- Connect with peers living with HIV in a stigma-free, supportive environment.
- Chat one on one with individuals and get advice when you need it most.
- Get info about sex, dating, life hacks, and LGBTQ topics when living with HIV.
- Set reminders to take medication and track your health.
- Use our relaxation techniques to help improve your mood.
- Contact your HIV health care team: doctors, nurses, social workers, and additional support members
This is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), HIV/AIDS Bureau’s Special Project of National Significance Program. It’s contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the government.
Why will the Positive Peers app focus on youth and young adults (ages 13-34)?
Young people — especially young people of color — are disproportionately affected by HIV in Cuyahoga County. In 2015, 57% of the county’s new cases were under the age of 30 (n=119). Of those 119 cases below the age of 30, 83% were African-American (n=99). This trend seems to be increasing each year, as evidenced by the 73% increase in new cases between 2010 and 2015 among in those who are 20-24 years of age. Given this growing age group’s difficulties in managing their HIV care, Positive Peers aims to empower, engage, support young people in their journey to achieve and maintain viral suppression.
What HIV-related healthcare services does MetroHealth provide?
MetroHealth provides holistic healthcare to over 1,800 unique patients living with HIV. Our patients receive care from a team that includes physicians, nurses, social workers and others to provide both medical treatment and social supports. MetroHealth offers support groups and additional services through Compass Services, a program generously supported by the DBJ Foundation and Ryan White Part A.
The Positive Peers app was developed by The MetroHealth System’s Compass Services, in collaboration with Blue Star Design and Blackbird.
- 2015 HIV/AIDS EPIDEMIOLOGY PROFILE RYAN WHITE PART A CLEVELAND TGA/CUYAHOGA COUNTY. Cleveland Department of Public Health. Published: 05/17/2017. Accessed: 06/06/2017. Available at: http://www.clevelandhealth.org/assets/documents/health/health_statistics/2015_Ryan_White_Planning_Council_RAG_Presentation_5-17-2017.pdf