Positive Peers App Gains National Attention for Innovation in Helping Young People Diagnosed with HIV
An app created by MetroHealth staff is now gaining national attention by the Department of Health and Human Services for its positive impact on young people living with HIV.
In 2016, Ann K. Avery, MD, and her team, including Project Director, Jennifer McMillen Smith, launched an app that would help 13- to 34-year-olds navigate through the complicated feelings and questions that come up. Living with HIV can be an isolating, scary experience for anyone diagnosed, but especially for young people who may not have support.
The app, called Positive Peers, scaled up to the national level in March 2020, giving hope to the people who relied on community to help them process the disease. The app offers health management tools, health information and a social platform where patients can post on a community bulletin board or direct-message other users.
This innovative, practical app has been recognized by The Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA). For the month of February, HRSA will be featuring Positive Peers as an "Innovative HIV Care Strategy" on their TargetHIV website of best practices. Smith will also present at the national webinar on February 24.
“To see Positive Peers recognized as an innovative project by HRSA is like watching your baby graduate,” said Cedrick Taylor, long-time user of the app. “As someone who has had PPA at my fingertips since my diagnosis, I have witnessed the change firsthand as to what PPA can and will do for not just myself, but for communities worldwide. Hats off to you Positive Peers, you are being the change you want to see and I’m here for it!”
The recognition means more potential users will have access to the services and the private community Positive Peers provides.
"We are honored that HRSA is lifting up MetroHealth's app as an example of an innovative best practice that can be used all over the United States as a tool to help end the HIV epidemic," Smith said.
The platform’s publicly facing website – PositivePeers.org – also includes hundreds of blog posts with information important to young adults living with HIV, including:
- How to make it through the upcoming holidays with HIV
- Tips for dealing with workplace harassment
- How to tell your partner you have HIV
- How to talk to your doctor about getting on PrEP
The Positive Peers blog has been recognized as one of the best blogs on HIV by Medical News Today, FeedSpot and MyTherapy.
Founded in 1837, MetroHealth is leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community through service, teaching, discovery, and teamwork. Cuyahoga County’s public, safety-net hospital system, MetroHealth meets people where they are, providing care through four hospitals, four emergency departments, and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites. Each day, our 8,000 employees focus on providing our community with equitable health care–through patient-focused research, access to care, and support services–that seeks to eradicate health disparities rooted in systematic barriers. For more information, visit metrohealth.org.