HIV Support Groups

Find the community to suit your needs

HIV is no longer the life-threatening disease it once was, but people living with it still benefit from strong social and emotional support.

As a disease characterized by high levels of stigmatization, finding people you can confide in safely will not only help normalize HIV in your life, but will help you overcome everyday challenges including treatment, prevention, relationships, and your general well-being.

At a time when digital interactions have become the social norm, online support groups offer one of the best ways to meet others living with HIV in a safe, open environment.

POZ Community Forum

POZ Community Forum is one of the largest and longest-running discussion boards for people living with HIV in the United States.

This community forum was founded by the publishers of POZ magazine in 2005. Because of the publication's continual presence in the HIV community, POZ Community Forum continues to attract thousands of people looking for insights and advice about HIV testing, treatment, care, and prevention.

The POZ Community Forum boards are clearly laid out and monitored 24/7, so that abuses common in other forums (such as advertising and quack medicine) are avoided. The admins strongly encourage users to provide the full citation of any medical claims made, ideally with the website address so that members are not led astray.

Registered users can post three free messages per day. If you desire more interaction, you can purchase a seven-day subscription for around $10, a 30-day subscription for about $15, or a 90-day subscription for approximately $25 by PayPal.

When registered, you can opt to receive or send private messages. If you're interested in meeting and dating others with HIV, POZ offers a separate dating site.

The Well Project

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women account for 19 percent of all new HIV infections in the U.S., while women of color represent approximately 78 percent of new infections amongst all women.

The Well Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the needs of women and girls living with HIV.  The organization aims to increase health literacy and peer-to-peer support through community boards, forums, and other features to registered members for free. Users can opt to either create a profile page (with a photo and personal details) or remain anonymous.

In addition to posting comments on boards and blogs, members can join public groups, request access to private ones, or start an open or closed community of their own. There is also a group and a one-on-one chat feature.

Additionally, the Well Project maintains two blogs: the English-language A Girl Like Me and the Spanish-language Una Chica Como Yo.

THRIVE SS

Black men who are gay or bisexual are at the greatest risk of contracting HIV of any group in the U.S. The intersecting vulnerabilities that affect these men—including homophobia, stigma, poverty, and unequal access to healthcare—remain inadequately addressed by many local and state health officials.

This is why organizations like THRIVE SS, founded by three Black men in 2015, remain vital to this underserved population. Since its founding, THRIVE SS has grown from 45 men in Atlanta, Georgia, to over 3,500 in local chapters throughout U.S.

The organization's programs are mainly focused on live support groups—including BYOB brunches and potlucks organized by local chapters—there are also online peer support events and live-streamed webinars for those unable to attend in-person events.

Central to the THRIVE SS support model is something it calls "Judy Support," a term used to describe cultural self-acceptance and the rejection of homophobia and racism.

THRIVE SS is free, but it asks members to donate if they can afford to do so.

Poz Place

There are numerous HIV communities on Facebook, many of which are undermined not by their mission but by the lack of community involvement or facilitation. That's why many fizzle out a year or so later.

One Facebook community that's been able to sustain momentum for more than seven years is Poz Place. Founded in 2012 by Brittany Cameron, an HIV-positive mother and peer engagement specialist, Poz Place offers a free, safe space for anyone in need of HIV support regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, or HIV status.

As a private Facebook group, Poz Place requires registration and an agreement to adhere to community rules. This not only ensures confidentiality but provides users with an open, honest, and non-judgmental environment.

With more than 5,800 registered members, Poz Place is among the largest private support groups on Facebook. As a member, you can expect to see anywhere from five to 10 posts per day and a quick reply to any questions you may have about HIV.

TherapyTribe HIV/AIDS Tribe

TherapyTribe is a free online wellness community that offers people with specific support needs a place to connect safely and confidentially. Among the eight major groups listed on the website is an HIV/AIDS Tribe for people in search of peer-to-peer support from others living with the disease.

While the primary goal of TherapyTribe is to connect users to licensed therapists and counselors, there is a members-only forum that allows users to post comments or reply to questions and/or concerns from others in the community.

The HIV/AIDS portal has more than 11,000 registered users who offer words of support or encouragement whenever times get rough. And that's no small thing.

You can also send and receive messages from your mobile device, create a circle of friends among registered users, and even start a blog to share with your social network.

Positive Peers

In the United States, roughly one in five new HIV infections occurs in people under the age of 25, of whom only 60% are able to sustain an undetectable viral load while on therapeutic medications.

Addressing the barriers to treatment and care in young people with HIV is different from those in older adults. Not only do attitudes and social pressures differ, but so do the ways in which younger people communicate. Positive Peers, a private support app, is designed specifically for teens and young adults living with HIV.

This 24/7 support system delivers all of the features mobile users demand: community forums, private chats, group chats, health and wellness blogs from other young people with HIV, medication refill reminders, an appointment calendar with automated reminders, as well as blood test charts to record, track, and share your results. There also are meditation videos to help reduce stress and a crisis hotline for those in need of one-on-one support.

Positive Peers is free, but it's only available for people between the ages of 13 and 34. To get the app, you must first provide a scanned copy of valid ID (such as a driver's license, passport, or birth certificate) and confirmation of your diagnosis (such as an HIV test, a copy of your viral load and CD4 count, or a signed release from your doctor).

myHIVteam

Another free app that works similarly to Positive Peers but is available to anyone over 18 is myHIVteam, one of more than 35 mobile apps created by the San Francisco-based MyHealthTeam.

The myHIVteam app asks registrants to provide details about their diagnosis (including current symptoms and the date of the initial diagnosis) along with a list of medications and side effects.

This allows users to connect with others taking the same drugs or experiencing the same health concerns. You can also filter members by lab results, symptoms, or side effects (such as nausea, lipodystrophy, or neuropathy). 

In addition, the myHIVteam app allows you to build teams, post updates about yourself, and send and receive private or group messages. Because people on myHIVTeam tend to be more open about the status, the response is often more helpful and detailed than you might find on a community board.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are HIV support groups?

    HIV support groups are vital for many people living with HIV, providing them the means to share their experiences, seek advice and referrals, and receive support from others who fully understand what they are going through.

    While many people will turn to in-person HIV support groups, LGBTQ+ community centers, and public health clinics are great resources.

  • Is an online HIV support group right for me?

    In addition to offering comfort, HIV support groups aim to overcome the numerous barriers that keep people from accessing care and treatment or taking their medications each and every day as needed. Those challenges may include emotional issues like depression or the fear of abandonment or structural problems, such as accessing affordable treatment, care, or housing.


    Moreover, many online groups—including those on Facebook—are designed for people of specific ages or cultural identities, providing them the means to communicate in the "same language."

  • How are online HIV support groups structured?

    The best online support groups aim to replicate the same features of traditional, in-person support groups: a safe, non-judgmental environment, confidentiality and strict privacy rules, and some level of facilitation to avoid abusive interactions and the spread of misinformation.

    Choosing the group that's right for you depends on your individual needs. It may be that you are struggling to cope, are seeking advice or education, or simply desire a sense of community among others like you. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone.

  • Are there groups for the LGBTQ+ community?

    Yes. In the U.S., men who have sex with men (MSM) account for around 69 percent of all new infections. Because of this, there is greater number of HIV support groups addressing the needs of gay and bisexual men in general. Statistics like these highlight the need for support groups to address the needs of underserved, high-risk populations, including people of color, youth, women, and transgender people.

  • How much do HIV support groups cost?

    By and large, online HIV support groups do not cost anything. Many are run by nonprofit organizations, and even those operated by commercial entities offer free limited access. Registration is typically required, and some sites have eligibility criteria.

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5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV and women.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV and African Americans.

  3. Landman K. Brunch, margaritas and good advice: How peer support helps those living with HIV. NPR.org.

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV and youth.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diagnoses of HIV Infection in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2018: Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men.