Jacob Alexander was diagnosed with HIV last September. Like most people newly diagnosed, he was afraid to tell the world because of the stigma attached to the virus.
Thankfully, Alexander received overwhelming support from friends and family. His parents were with him when he got the call from his doctor telling him of his status, so they’ve been next to him every step of the way. But other people are not so lucky, so the 22-year old student at London College of Fashion decided to make a difference in their lives.
After his diagnoses, Alexander was passed from doctor to doctor being told how he could’ve prevented himself from contracting HIV and how he could prevent passing it along to others.
“But what about me?” Alexander said in a TEDx Talk. “What about everyone else that was on this HIV-positive ‘flaw.’ How can we make the lives of people living with the virus better?”
The answer was simple: Create an app that empowers a sense of community for people living with HIV.
Alexander’s initiative is called The Positive Project. A phone app combining fashion and technology to bring people living with HIV closer together, while also acting as a safe-haven for all questions, experiences, and concerns that deal with those effected and affected by the virus.
It works like this: First, you buy the Positive Project T-shirt designed by Alexander. Users are encouraged to take a selfie on the app, then post it to the world map located inside. From there, the selfie will be GPS tagged, inviting other users to connect with you on the app from around the globe.
Photo by iTunes, The Positive Project
Photo by iTunes: The Positive Project
In addition to connecting users, the app also features questions people living with HIV often have about dating, coming out, dealing with stigma, or coming to terms with their status. The purpose is to create an open platform to educate people about HIV and to stop common misconceptions that often cloud our judgments.