Zim Diaspora

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HIV dating website popular in South Africa

A DATING website for people living with HIV-Aids is thriving in South Africa.

The Positive Connection was launched in September 2003, with a successful run for the first six years and membership numbers increasing rapidly.

Ben Sassman, founder of the website, said "normal" dating sites do not ask you for your HIV status, which still leaves people who are HIV positive with the trauma or stress of disclosing their status to a new date.

"With The Positive Connection, all the members are in the same health boat, and disclosing is not necessary," Sassman said.

"Members e-mail and communicate and later go out on dates. Sometimes it is for support, just a friend to talk to in a relaxed, informed environment.

"Sometimes it is for love and other reasons."

The site is only for people who are HIV positive.

"Negative people cannot sign up because there is a real risk of infection. I am also required by law to clearly mention on every page of the site that this is a dating site for people living with HIV-Aids," Sassman said.

He said the site was the first of its kind catering exclusively for HIV-infected people.

"I will keep the site free forever. I would, however, like to expand, increase traffic and take the site into Africa, so that my members can communicate with others around the continent." - ZimDiaspora/Sowetan.