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Feeling flushed [Jan. 27th, 2011|12:39 pm]


Actually not, but anything to come up with an image appropriate header. I discarded “feeling drained” or “all wet”.

I’ve been researching the wacky HIV dating site market for an upcoming PositiveLite.com article. I first became aware that something might be wrong with many of the players when I was spammed on Twitter with “free internet dating for AIDS victims” and “HIV sufferers” messages. Now those particular terms are NOT ones we in the HIV community use at all; the correct term, which is way more positive in tone, is “people living with HIV/AIDS”.

Clearly the people running these sites haven’t a clue; the majority of them seem to be strictly money-making enterprises.

Look closer at some of these sites – there are a large number of them which lump HIV with STD’s and seem to treat us as a package, which in itself is unusual - and a little digging reveals they are all franchises, ultimately part of a Swiss based internet dating empire. It all seems rather seedy.

Google ”STD dating sites”, and you’ll find dozens. The terms are all similar. $30 a month, automatic renewing. They use a customizable front-end, but functionality is identical. The “free” come-on allows you to access the site, but not to contact any of the members on it. Who knows how many there really are until you sign up. Information on STD’s etc and even access to a councillor is available, the sites say, but only if you pay. Now who PAYS for information on STD’s?

Anyway, this is my first stab at investigative reporting, or something akin to it. Wish me luck. I’ll post a link to my article when it’s up, assuming my editor goes for it.

[User Picture]From: bitterlawngnome
2011-01-27 05:42 pm (UTC)
"You're In!"
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[User Picture]From: ruralrob
2011-01-27 05:43 pm (UTC)
Best caption suggestion ever!

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[User Picture]From: blamedstarlie
2011-01-27 06:06 pm (UTC)
It would seem like a better idea to find a date/meet people through one of the organizations private message boards. Do you and/or Meirion work for positivelite.com & do they have such a thing? I noticed you link to your website here, but I got a 404 error. I feel bad that there is probably people out there who feel like one of those sites is the way to go(especially in terms of counseling!) when there are clearly better ways.

Anyway... what I first intended to say was that the photo is hilarious/awesome in a freaky space odyssey kind of way.
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[User Picture]From: ruralrob
2011-01-27 07:47 pm (UTC)
I'm a featured blogger on the site and also take care of a lot of the adminstration. It keeps me very busy. My pages are here: http://positivelite.com/content/blog/contributors/green-acres

There are reputable Poz dating services for sure, and I think all but the most gullible will find their way to the good ones.

Glad you like this (very weird) photo. I do too. It was taken a while back but I don't think I ever posted it here.

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[User Picture]From: badrobot68
2011-01-27 06:12 pm (UTC)
That is one gigantic bathroom!
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[User Picture]From: ruralrob
2011-01-27 07:42 pm (UTC)
Isn't it? The Internatiuonal AIDS Conference was held in this building once. It's a very large convention centre.
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[User Picture]From: tonethbone
2011-01-27 06:13 pm (UTC)
Looking forward to the link and your report..about these site entrepreneurs

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[User Picture]From: ruralrob
2011-01-27 07:41 pm (UTC)
I'm doubtful now whether I can run it - there are just too many sensibilities to consider, unfortunately. But we'll see.
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[User Picture]From: zurcherart
2011-01-27 06:25 pm (UTC)
Even if these people are rather uncouth, common sense would seem to indicate that the terminology doesn't make for good marketing.

Of course I'm wondering which Swiss company is the dating site conglomerate. I actually worked with a guy who ran a dating site empire in his spare time ... but I don't think his was ever very successful.
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[User Picture]From: ruralrob
2011-01-27 07:40 pm (UTC)
The language many of these franchise sites use shows they are run by outsiders who dont know/understand their marekt. That makes me suspicious right there.

Behind almost this entire industry is this Swiss-based company. http://datingfactory.com/
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[User Picture]From: oscarlikesbugsy
2011-01-27 10:31 pm (UTC)
It's a brave and confident man who whips out his camera in the men's room, yes?

Good luck with the article.
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[User Picture]From: ruralrob
2011-01-27 10:32 pm (UTC)
I have a very long - lens . . .
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[User Picture]From: fuzzed
2011-01-27 10:41 pm (UTC)
When I look at that bathroom, it's easy to imagine a grand musical production with dozens of men recreating their own version of the Dancing Fountains at the Bellagio Hotel while Liberace, wearing a yellow, swarovski crystal covered wetsuit, accompanies them on a white porcelain baby grand singing, "I'll be seeing you, in all the old familiar places..."

Too much? *lol*
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[User Picture]From: judo100
2011-01-27 11:17 pm (UTC)
What sort of mob scene is this bathroom designed for??? How many people need to pee at the same time anyway?

Investigative reporting! My, my, good luck.
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[User Picture]From: ruralrob
2011-01-27 11:30 pm (UTC)
This is for a new kind of "flash" mob. ;-)
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[User Picture]From: dendren
2011-01-28 01:35 am (UTC)
boy... it's rare you see a bunch of urinals without those privacy walls between them now.
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[User Picture]From: ruralrob
2011-01-28 02:35 am (UTC)
You complaining? ;-)
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[User Picture]From: brendamom
2011-01-28 01:47 am (UTC)
Oh my....You take me to places I have not been before.
Actually, it is quite lovely.
I don't know what to think about these dating sites. Would I, if I had cancer or any other disease, look for like? Would that be the first thing on my mind? Of course, cancer is not contagious.
So bear with, dense little me....Are these sites to share for sexual encounters or places to relate about the disease? Or really trying for a relationship in potentially lonely times.
I would be very interested in how you report.
I haven't been there myself....I guess paying sites to meet others is quite the vogue. Once I went to Matchline, some 11 years ago. Is that the name? I met men who changed my life by widening my world of understanding. Not necessarily to the good. More like RUN, don't walk away. Handsome or not.
I think I shall become a protestant nun replacing or echoing St Francis of Assisi instead. Now I read dog adoption sites.
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[User Picture]From: ruralrob
2011-01-28 02:44 am (UTC)
I googled and there are indeed cancer dating sites. IMO these sites,many of them franchises just like the HIV dating sites, are no good. In actual fact there are reputable ways to meet people with HIV - we are talking about relationships, not hookups, but they are through the not for profits, not these money- making schemes.
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[User Picture]From: zeppo_marx
2011-01-28 04:48 am (UTC)
See, that is one of those things that hadn't ever really occured to me - that there would a market for an HIV-specific dating site. Makes perfect sense in retrospect, but it is just one of those facets that don't occur to most people not as closely associated with it.

And, by the sounds of it, a market that isn't currently well-served.
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