HIV Positive People Still Want Online Dating

HIV+ online dating website positive connectionOne of my most popular articles I’ve ever published on this blog is the website review of The Positive Connection, a website for those HIV Positive written in 2005. The website helps those with HIV find partners with the same condition for romantic relationships. While conducting my initial research into online industry 2004-2006 I met and interviewed the owners of most online dating websites.

Ben Sassman, the founder of The Positive Connection website, is the only one that eluded me. At some point we made contact but he was not willing to do an interview. At that point I was in a rush to publish my research findings, so I did not push to hard.

His website was offline for a period and I realised many of the people who found my 2005 blog post, simply could not find the website the review was about. People wanted to connect potential HIV positive partners, no matter what. At first the comments were requests for help. Eventually men began posting cellphone numbers and to protect the women, I deleted them. Women also began posting their cellphone numbers and locations across South Africa. There was no way for me to verify who was genuine or sincere, or who really was HIV positive.

The more I read the comments, it seemed a desperate attempt to find another HIV positive person because of a self-imposed loneliness. Most of these people were not trying to find a spouse, with cynical and resigned words they used. Even if you are diagnosed with HIV, it is possible to live a long life with the correct medical treatment and wellness program to boost your immune system.

In many ways this is a very personal matter for me because my best friend was in a relationship with a HIV+ woman for 3 years. He tested himself once a year, and remains negative even after they ended their relationship. Because of the seriousness of the condition, anyone looking for love online must take a reality check.

After 10 years of online dating and social networking, I now believe that the risks of meeting people online outweigh the perceived benefits. I am more pessimistic about online relationships because of the false sense of connection and security, the superficial nature of relationships based on social media. People who are HIV positive can increase their confidence by turning to speed dating and other forms of events to meet people form the opposite sex.


Jabulani Mangena wins International English Speaking Contest

Recently I attended the annual Toastmasters Maxicon conference. The theme in 2013 was Leadership, hence the name Leadercon.

Congratulations to Jabulani Mangena of Midrand Toastmasters Club for being placed first at the District 74 International Speech contest held recently at Indaba Hotel & Conference centre. Winner of the District 74 humourous contest in 2010, Jabulani came first again – this time for the International contest with his speech titled “Garbage Bin Boy.”

OAP Editor, Abisha Gowere spoke to Jabulani on the day he won the contest and below was their conversation.

Interview with the District 74 International Speech Contest winner 2013: Jabulani Mangena

1. How are you feeling about coming first in the District Contest?

Very excited, I prayed about this and I knew God is faithful, he would answer my prayers.

2. What inspired you to keep going through out the stages from Club to District level?

The inspiration from my 10 year old daughter, she believed so much in me.

3. What advice would you give to future speech contestants?

Be yourself, tell your story and speak from your heart, and be careful of what has put you down in the past.

4. Your speech was about you as the “Garbage Bin Boy,” what inspired you to choose this topic ?

What I said was my true story. I had always been waiting to get an opportunity to tell my story.

The winning was not without competition. Louis Nigrini of The Sages, who came first in the Evaluation contest was placed second after Jabulani with his speech was “Time travel” Rudo Bingepinge-Dzenga of Bedfordview was placed third with her speech titled “Make some lemonade”

Well-done to the rest of the participants listed below and in alphabetical order of Division:
• Christijan Schoeman – Centurion – Area A2 – My eulogy
• John Hambleton – Cape Town – Area D2 – Attitude leads to altitude
• Marianah Lourens – Algoa – Area E1 – THe dream
• Andrew McGregor – Pietermaritzburg – Area F2 – You choose
• Graham Shirley – Bacon & Egg – Area S3 – The talons of time

Jabulani Mangena is vying for one of nine spots in the World Championship of Public Speaking to be held Saturday, Aug. 24 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and we wish him all the best. He can be contacted at

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Your Social Media Policy vs Students

Social Media on CampusIn the last two weeks several stories appeared in the news media in South Africa about Facebook confession pages from big universities. There’s numerous references to matters that is and should remain private, there are rumors and gossip, and there are mundane confessions like the sort in a private diary.

The process is making people anonymous is interesting:

  1. People submit their confessions via a Google Form
  2. The moderators of the Facebook pages select the gossip to post
  3. People LIKE the pages, comment like crazy and probably laugh a lot

The office environment may have more controls, but the university seems an even more complex beast to enforce a social media policy. Students are known to download movies or music using the campus computer networks. There are certainly a group who are drinking alcohol or smoking pot, even though it’s banned.

Since the advent of the Internet in corporate networks, Internet usage policies have been a consistent part of the HR policy new staff members have to sign. Universities have similar policies, and students are aware of them. However, just because someone is aware of a policy, does not mean they can be forced or compelled to abide by them.

Since most people access social media from their own devices, whether smartphones or tablets, there are not software tools a university network administrator can utilize to compel them to comply. It is not practical to control people’s private use of the Internet, yet their actions can cause irreparable damage to the institution and people vilified.

In the past I’ve suggested the following options for organisations to moderator abuse of the Internet:

  1. Block all access to social media sites
  2. Open complete access to social media sites
  3. Give social media sites before 8am and after 4pm.

As you can see this does not apply because student’s will not stop using the smartphones during lectures, let alone during the bathroom. So what can be done?

Maybe the best method yet is the embarrassment. In the early days of the Internet usage, some companies published top 10 list of “downloaders”. This was done in a way to ensure that people know who was abusing the company network, and this form of naming and shaming was effective in the short term and especially the long term. Your social media policy may include a clause on naming people who abuse their access to social media.