For the fifth consecutive year, PositiveLite.com has won an award for the best Canadian-focused HIV website, amongst a stellar list of influencers.
The presenter is Healthline, a U.S.-based giant in the field of web-based consumer health information .
Our citation says this: “PositivelIte.com remains a leading voice in HIV news and advocacy in Canada. For the fifth consecutive year, we name them the top Canadian HIV resource. This year the publication became a powerful advocate for the #UequalsU campaign in Canada, helping to push AIDS organizations to join the movement. Publisher Bob Leahy also continues to publish activists’ stories and opinions on their website, ensuring fresh perspectives are always heard in the HIV community.”
Our award this year came as a surprise to insiders. Why? The Healthline website has been a target of PositiveLIte.com’s advocacy work for the #UequalsU campaign, sometimes not without friction. It’s gratifying, we say, that Healthline has been responsive to community concerns, and that our past occasionally adversarial relationship has healed in this way. Thank you Healthline.
The story of PositivelIte.com is unusual. Started on a shoestring eleven years ago by community activist Brian Finch, its intent was to provide an irreverent, sometimes comical alternative to existing HIV websites. Hence the “lite” in its title. Finch used to joke that it was HIV with less calories. It still retains a unique perspective that focuses on the whole person living with HIV, rather than just their medical diagnosis and related needs. However over the years, it has become a more mainstream voice, counting the big names like CATIE as its allies. It’s known for its analysis of emerging trends in the treatment and prevention fields, always from a progressive perspective. For example it supported treatment as prevention, and later PrEP, in a field that was far from crowded then. It hasn’t been afraid to ruffle feathers along the way. In fact it’s known for that but it does so with grace and humility
Few realize that PositiveLite.com is essentially a home-based operation, a non-profit that operates out of the homes of three busy people – Rob Olver, Wayne Bristow and myself. We work for nothing, without government funding.
That home-grown approach to advocacy work is evident in others who have received Healthline awards, notably Bruce Richman and the hugely successful Prevention Access Campaign. (Watch for other HIV industry awards coming to them soon.) True, there are big names in the list like the Elton John AIDS Foundation, POZ and HIV.gov. But commendably, Healthline also honours a slew of independent activists, many of whose names will be familiar from social media like Kevin Maloney, Maria Mejia, Charles Sanchez, Alex Garner, Carrie Foote, Dee Conner, Brady Dale Morris, Raul Robles and Roscoe Boyd. These are my colleagues but also my heroes. They too operate on a shoestring or nothing at all. The system in fact cries out for sharing the wealth. Funding is too often accorded only to big names, ignoring where much of the work that is making a difference occurs.
But that’s a conversation for another day. Here’s to Healthline and its noble efforts in recognizing those who both do the hard work and work hard at it. And here’s to our fellow honourees. PositiveLIte.com is exceedingly proud to be amongst you.
For a full list of this year’s honourees, go here.