A new smartphone app has been launched exclusively for people living with HIV and looking for love. Created by Andrew Goyvaerts, POZ was launched in March to help singletons navigate the dating world without facing stigma about their status.

“After being diagnosed with HIV in 2013, I found stigma and the opinions of others to be the hardest part of moving on with life,” he told PinkNews.

Goyvaerts said he was inspired to build the app after suffering abuse on other apps and the higher price of apps aimed at people living with HIV. He also explained that the hardest part of using “mainstream dating apps” was being rejected due to his HIV status.

“We all feel that little bit of a bruised ego if we get turned down because we’re not someone’s type or because of our looks but being turned down because I’m positive bruised me in a way I have never felt before,” he explained.

However, although Goyvaerts criticised the high prices of some apps already in existence, he too will introduce a “pro-membership” charge once the app has attracted enough users.

The app has met with mixed feeling from the HIV community, with one man saying he is unsure the app was safe for those wishing to keep their status private.

“I’m very public about my status and history of drug use, but that’s not the same for a lot of people out there,” Theodore Tsipiras told Star Observer. He said he was also concerned that users might miss out on meeting the “love of their life” if they restrict themselves to finding another positive person to date. “It’s a minority within a minority and you’re limiting yourself… you might miss out on that crazy idea, there’s one special person out there for you.”

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