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Online HIV support network celebrate first anniversary

Online HIV support network celebrate first anniversary

MyHIV, a UK-based online support system for people living with HIV founded by the Terrence Higgins Trust and the Elton John AIDS Foundation, celebrates its first anniversary today.

Since the launch in 2011, myHIV claims to have become Britain's largest online support network for people living with HIV. To mark the occassion, the Terrence Higgins Trust will be holding monthly prize draws for members, with an iPad being the first prize up for grabs.

MyHIV is an interactive service where registered users can access one-on-one or group support, videos, health monitoring tools, counselling and health trainer sessions.

Genevieve Edwards, Terrence Higgins Trust’s executive director of health improvement says: 'It’s a huge success story, but we want to give every person with HIV the same chance to take more control of their own health and find out how to make the most of what, for many, will now be a full length life with the new treatments.'

David, 33, a user of the myHIV services says: 'The best thing I have ever done is joining the forums here, talking to people, making friends, asking questions, sharing your bad moments and your good ones.

'It feels like a safety net, a safe house that you know you could go to anytime you feel low, unsure, worried and happy. Whether sharing moments of joy or fear you know that someone is there caring for you.'

Steve, 55, says that he has found the service 'invaluable': 'I’ve been diagnosed 25 years and myHIV is invaluable for me, living in a rural location. It's meant an end to years of isolation: people to bounce ideas off, helping people avoid the mistakes I made, learning of new mistakes not to make and, overall, support.'

Founded in 1982, the Terrence Higgins trust has become the UK's largest HIV and sexual health charity. The trust has centres aross England, Scotland and Wales where they provide information and advice about HIV and sexual health as well as counselling and support.

The Elton John AIDS Foundation has raised over £91 million ($143 million €109 million) to date and has supported more than 1,200 international projects to help improve the lives of people affected by HIV and AIDS.