Los Angeles — “Positively Sexy Guys.” That’s the tag line that’s meant to attract a host of members to the web’s newest HIV-positive social networking site, Volttage.com. But sexy, HIV+ men aren’t the only things that separate this website from others - its creation is meant to combat stigma and to create a database of information, support and resources for gay men who are a part of the international HIV-positive community.

As a first-of-its kind social networking website, Volttage.com will offer gay men living with HIV a place to develop and foster friendships and relationships with other members, while also learning about HIV/AIDS, medical advances and other relevant, up-to-date health and lifestyle information. Similarly to other sites like it, Volttage.com certainly offers the possibility for romantic encounters.

“Sex sells,” said Jack Mackenroth, who will appear on the site with other HIV+ models. “But we are much more than a hookup site. We provide an alternative for HIV+ men who often feel stigmatized and discriminated against on the other sites. As the site develops and grows, we will incorporate features like forums and blogs that will strengthen a sense of community and acceptance.”

Volttage.com is also different from other sites with sexual content because it does not ask members to divulge their HIV status though it is clear that the site is for HIV+ men and their supporters.

“We take the stance that everyone should assume their partner is HIV positive and proceed accordingly,” Mackenroth said. “Asking someone their status is rather pointless, as people may not know or even lie about it to avoid rejection. We encourage members to be out and proud but we understand that the stigma can be prohibitive so members control all of their own content. I hope that the sense of community will help members ‘come out’ about their status over time.”

With free profiles on Volttage.com, members will have the opportunity to communicate with like individuals. Volttage.com will include desktop and mobile versions of the site and use geo-location, to help members find similar individuals nearby. A staff physician, New York-based Dr. Frank Spinelli, will answer frequently asked health questions and update monthly blogs.

To learn more about Volttage.com, visit . For more information about Mackenroth, visit www.jackmackenroth.com.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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