January 28, 2010
Fourteen years ago, I joined an online startup effort called TheBody.com with a simple goal: to build a Web site that would serve people living with HIV/AIDS and those who care about them.
At the time, I was mourning the death of my brother from AIDS. As his caretaker, I had learned an amazing amount about accessing state-of-the-art medical information (without the Web!).
Building TheBody.com was an opportunity to not only help others affected by HIV, it was also a chance to begin healing from my brother's tragic death.
At that time, the Internet was in its infancy and I was limited in what I could imagine. But I knew that whatever I built would have to provide unquestionably trusted treatment information. Plus, I wanted to address the terrible isolation too many people living with HIV around the world experienced.
In the more than 14 years that I've been privileged to be advocating and working on behalf of the HIV community, I've witnessed the dramatic transformation in HIV treatment in the resource-rich world as researchers successfully struggled to come up with more effective and less toxic HIV medications. HIV miraculously shifted from being a fatal disease to a challenging, yet manageable illness -- millions of people with HIV can now continue to live full lives.
Unfortunately, although treatment options for HIV have improved dramatically, stigma and discrimination are still the rule. Few HIV-positive people can live openly with their illness and get the support they so need. And for far too many people in the U.S., and certainly around the world, lifesaving treatment is heartbreakingly out of reach.
Today TheBody.com is the leader in helping to educate and empower people with HIV/AIDS and those worried about contracting HIV. It's the Internet's most comprehensive HIV/AIDS resource, with an extensive assortment of options for connecting with others and accessing the latest information about living with HIV. From our inspiring group of bloggers, to a huge library of podcast interviews, to our "Ask the Experts" forums -- an exceptional, one-of-a-kind resource -- the site has helped and continues to help millions of people take control of their health and feel less alone.
Fourteen years is a long time to be doing something. So the time has come for me to make a change. However, my commitment to the HIV/AIDS community remains absolutely unchanged. I will continue -- after taking much needed time off -- to work on many projects within the community to educate and inform.
Over the years, I've put together, and have been fortunate to work with, an amazing team at TheBody.com. They will more than fill my shoes and I am extremely grateful for their help over the years.
Beginning Feb. 1, Myles Helfand will become TheBody.com's editorial director. Myles has been working closely with me for almost eight years and is happy to tackle the demands of overseeing the site. Olivia Ford, who has been with TheBody.com for two years and has become such an invaluable and enthusiastic member of the team, will also be on hand.
There are many other people who are part of the dedicated team that puts together this phenomenal site: there's our eagle-eyed copyeditor and proofreader, Rozina, who keeps the site looking spiffy; our amazing, multi-talented Web developer, Becky Allen; and our expert tech and business general manager, Aryeh Lebeau. And of course, also part of this incredible team, is our all-around editorial assistant Warren Tong, and our steady and always reliable freelancers Ken Stockwell (who I have worked with for more than 10 years!) and Barbara Jungwirth -- both of whom have been helping maintain TheBody.com for so many years and are amazing people.
There are so many other people that I haven't mentioned who have worked to maintain our stellar site. It takes a big team to maintain such a large site. I am sure that in their hands TheBody.com can only continue to improve and grow into an ever more helpful resource, empowering and informing almost one million people a month.
Please stay in touch! email@example.com
You can also follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/BonnieGoldman.