social-edge

This Week in Social Entrepreneurship
  • The Hitachi Foundation’s Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneurs Program provides financial and business support for up to five social entrepreneurs whose businesses improve the lives of low-income individuals. The entrepreneurs selected receive $40,000 over two years in addition to leadership development, business mentoring, technical assistance, and access to a great network of peers and advisors, including partner organizations such as B Lab, Investors’ Circle, and Social Venture Network. If you started your business before the age of 30, it is 1-5 years old, and it helps low-income communities in the United States, then it’s eligible for the Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneurs Program! The process is simple–apply now or anytime before the March 30th deadline.
  • Activating Empathy–Transforming Schools to Teach What Matters–if you are a teacher, parent, principal, student, or innovator with an idea that will help advance empathy in education, Ashoka’s Changemakers are looking for you. “The best entries describe a systemic or disruptive innovation with the potential to ensure that children master empathy, enabling them to be effective citizens, leaders, and trailblazers.” Does this sound like you? Are you interested in earning cash prizes from Ashoka’s Changemakers, Mattel, 1440 Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, DonorsCoose.org, and more? Submit your idea online before 5:00 pm EST on March 30th to be considered for the competition.
  • Grant applications just opened for the annual Eileen Fisher Business Grant Program for Women Entrepreneurs. This grant program seeks out wholly women-owned businesses that combine innovation with social consciousness and sustainability. Up to 5 grants of $12,500 will be awarded to the top entries from established businesses (in business at least 3 years) and start-ups (less than 3 years old, just a business plan is needed). Applications just opened earlier this month, so there’s still a month left to apply–the deadline is April 25th at noon EST.
  • Photographers and photography enthusiasts alike, here is a fun contest being hosted by Echoing Green–Show the World What Moves You. Win a Camera. Simply snap a shot of something or someone that moves you. Then, post that photo along with a few sentences about what it means to you. Share with everyone you know and make sure they give it a “thumbs up”. On April 2nd, Echoing Green will pick a winner among the top five ranked photos and the winner will receive a Gold Edition Minox DCC 5.1 digital camera. So, what moves you?
  • There’s a great discussion up on Social Edge right now with some useful insights for anyone just starting off their social mission driven initiative. Mistakes of a Social Entrepreneur–Jeremy Hockenstein, CEO and co-founder of Digital Divide Data, discusses his experiences just starting off and the mistakes he made along the way in an attempt to help newer social entrepreneurs not repeat these same mistakes. New social entrepreneurs, this is a must read. More experienced social entrepreneurs, join the discussion and share your thoughts and experiences–we can all benefit from what you have learned.
How Hiring a Social Media Agency Can Help Your Business

While most companies have seen the benefit of being on social media, many are trying to fly solo or hire inexperienced college kids that “know how to tweet”. What you may fail to realize is that a real social media agency will provide a strategy to produce ROI, not just throwing up random posts on Facebook.

Many feel that, because social media is vastly free, why spend money to manage what you can do for nothing. Remember, time and effort are commodities that have no price tag, therefore, cost you more in the long run, never mind countless headaches, large learning curve and oftentimes, failure. Just because I can screw in a light bulb doesn’t mean I’m an electrician.

Let’s take a look as to how a social media agency is the right move for your business.

Experience

This is the most obvious, we have experience, you don’t.

Hashtag, SEO, synergy, klout, viral, trending… these words sound Greek to you? They won’t, and shouldn’t, to an agency.

It’s easy to set up a Facebook or a Twitter account as well as ask your family and friends to follow you, but that is not the key to growing your follower base and engagement. Knowledge of each platform and how users respond to content is something that comes with time and experience.

Strategy

A social agency should not only increase your customer base, but also the value of each of those customers. Are you measuring your customer base, your company’s social reach and the value it’s bringing to your business? What strategies work and which fell flat when you thought they were surefire tricks? How can you learn from those social media mishaps?

Will Save You Time

If not for any other reason, a social agency will save you time, if you hire the right one. No doubt, we all could use more time to develop our business, engage clients and close deals. Social media is a living, breathing thing. Customers are constantly online, always searching, and if you aren’t there, you can lose them. Yes, it can happen that quickly. What better way to manage that engagement, while looking professional and organized, than hiring an agency.

Tools

Staying on top of the latest and greatest social media is time consuming and confusing.Which social profile does my business need? Why is Twitter different than Facebook and Google Plus? Is LinkedIn just for business relationships? On top of that, there are many tools to help you manage your accounts. Do you know which tools are the best in terms of listening? Engagement? Posting optimization?

I have a dozen websites that I read every morning and hundreds of people I follow on Twitter to keep up with the constantly new information, ideas, strategies and tools in the social media industry. It’s a social media agency’s job to keep up with this stuff so that it doesn’t have to be your job, too.

Social Media ROI: Is Your Agency Working For You?

How much time are you saving by not needing to put in the legwork on a daily basis executing your social media tactics not to mention keeping up with industry news and new social media tools? That alone can help you determine if spending money on a social agency is worth it for you.

How has your business grown because of social media? Are you reaching more people and raising your brand awareness? Have you been able to leverage social media campaigns and contests into new customers? Are you regularly bringing back customers for return business by engaging them through social media? These are all ways for your business to have a real reason for being involved in social media and how you can see tangible results to whether or not your social media agency is working for you or just trading off their time for your money.

At the end of the day, the sole importance of hiring an agency is to save you time and make you more money.

What Is Your Experience With Social Media Agencies?

Have you hired a social media agency before? How are things working out? If you are part of a social media agency, how do you work with your clients to ensure they are getting their money’s worth of your services and you’re not just paying them social lip service?

Need Help With Your Social Media?

Are you looking for an agency to help with your social media marketing? SocialEdge by Market Edge can help you out. Feel free to contact me for a comprehensive consultation on your business needs and how we can make social work for you.

Like what you’ve read? Please take the time to share with your LinkedIN contacts, Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Follow and join in the conversation with me on Twitter at @VincenzoLandino.

Building a Social Enterprise

Ah the thought of building your own social enterprise to help solve a problem you care deeply about; doesn’t it just give you goose bumps? I know it inspires us to wake up every morning and get to work. There is nothing more exhilarating than when you first come up with a great idea and start brainstorming and visualizing what it could become. For some of us, that excitement is enough to take bold action and quit our jobs or pass up other opportunities to pursue something that can change the world.  For us that idea was to create a company which built businesses structured specifically to employ and provide for autistic people. We believe that autistic people have the ability to be contributing members of society and the right to have the opportunity for gainful employment.

Even with all that energy and enthusiasm, eventually reality sets in and we realize how much work there is to make our dreams a reality. This can be a daunting reality but as an entrepreneur you must remain undeterred.  However, you need not go through this process alone. You should absolutely look for partners and try to find volunteers who are passionate about your cause. Social entrepreneurs have such an advantage over traditional start ups because there are a ton of great resources available to you and so many people are eager to help. In just a couple months we have already found some great people who are willing to help us grow and we will continue to look for more great people to help us achieve our mission. (If you’re reading this and would like to get involved or if you know someone who may like to get involve please contact us!)

We’d love to share some of our insights into how you can create a network and educate yourself.

Here are some great resources for new social entrepreneurs:

Educational Sites

My picks: Social Edge and Social Earth

These sites are great sources of news and information on social entrepreneurship

Social Enterprise Accelerators

My picks: Catchafire (in the U.S.) and ClearlySo (in the U.K.)

Catchafire is a great organization which acts as an “eHarmony” between social enterprises (both For Profit & Non Profit) and professionals who wish to volunteer their skills.

ClearlySo helps social enterprises become funding ready and subsequently help them find investors.

People Incubators

My Picks: StartingBloc and Sandbox Network

StartingBloc, through its Fellowship and Social Innovation Institutes, helps educate budding social innovators and connects them with the other outstanding people in the StartingBloc network.

The Sandbox Network helps young achievers build meaningful relationships with like-minded peers, learn from senior leaders and gain access to opportunities that will help them grow.

Some more advice to new social entrepreneurs….

Reach out to the pros

Don’t hesitate to reach out to successful social entrepreneurs and innovators whom you admire. Most of the time they are super helpful and love to hear about new people trying to make a difference.

Leverage your existing network

Don’t take the contacts you already have for granted. Make sure you contact your university to see how they may be willing to help, get in touch with old colleagues, and talk to friends and family about your idea. More often than not, great connections come from sources you may not expect so don’t dismiss people you know as “not being in the right circles” because that’s a wasted resource (not to mention pretentious).

Work, Work, Work

For all of you new entrepreneurs out there, you may be tempted to “work when you feel like it”. It’s very tempting when you become your own boss to slack off but this will kill you. You must become obsessed with what you are doing, must truly live and breathe it and dedicate your whole self to it. It is the only way to be successful!

I hope this was at least slightly helpful to anyone looking to build a social enterprise, I wish you all success, and please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!

(Social Edge)

In 1919, just after the First World War ended, a little less than a century ago, the Irish poet WB Yeats wrote his celebrated poem The Second Coming, in which he predicted:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand…

The European Economic network seems to be fragmenting –some Euro economies are strong, but “the center cannot hold” (in Yeats’s phrase) indefinitely, while the weaker brethren need more and more bailouts. Maybe the global economy is falling apart along with it, and in this event we may want to discuss whether social enterprise may be the new “centre” (I will use Yeats’s own Anglophile spelling on this one) that somehow managed to hold together a system that is in serious disarray, precisely because it is the place where our positive “convictions” find enough “passionate intensity” to make a difference.

Where does one start?

Read on to find out how you can develop your dreams to be a social entrepreneur:

Where does one start? Hosted by Saul Garlick (May 2011) on www.SocialEdge.org

Every day it seems I am asked the same question: How did you start your social enterprise? What advice can you give to others who want to get something started?

The question usually leaves me dumbfounded. I never feel like I have a good answer to the question. My social enterprise, ThinkImpact, has gone through many changes and iterations over the years and would better be described as having evolved.

However, that explanation is vague and unsatisfying to the aspiring social entrepreneur. Fact of the matter is, at some point in time, ThinkImpact did get started. How does one start?

The answer is to pick an idea (not the perfect idea) and run with it. Here is how I would describe the process.

An idea is born and you begin having conversations with friends about it. You feel good sometimes and bad sometimes because the feedback you get is so mixed. There are literally hundreds of reasons NOT to pursue the idea. At this point, many give up. Not you. You are determined. So you set out to make it a reality.

You call someone who has done it before and ask, “How did you start your social enterprise?” You think they will tell you something specific, concrete and useful. They don’t. Every story is different and the order by which we social entrepreneurs kick off our enterprises is often different and chaotic. Lawyers, accountants, insurance, staffing up, getting office space, finding a board, raising cash, building a brand, speaking at conferences, building human resources policies, writing a blog, building a website, testing your product, measuring your impact… you soon feel like there is no logic to anything. How anyone runs one of these organizations begins to feel overwhelming.

You take a deep breath. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you have some time.

Then you revert back, what’s next? And people refer you to speak with more “experienced folks.” Real estate tycoons, techies, social entrepreneurs, bankers, non-profit leaders. You are wondering what this is really all about. There don’t seem to be answers anywhere, just more questions.

Well, the determined do the following:

  • They pick a moment and decide to prototype their idea and put it in the market
  • They build a pitch deck to explain their product/service and business model
  • They build a simple brand format (logo, color scheme) so that they can make business cards, letterhead and website
  • They bootstrap in a tiny office in their apartment with some self-financing
  • They read about financial management and systems
  • They get feedback on their product/service, push hard, and do it all over again until someone believes in the idea enough to give them resources to build and expand the initiative

Eventually the pressure of the daily cash flow eases, the product/service gains a following of sorts, and the systems formalize. For those out there who want to get started, read The Art of the Startby Guy Kawasaki.

Then read something on financials like Financial Intelligence.

Share your comments and ideas on “Where to start.” Join Saul Garlick, CEO of ThinkImpact, in the conversation. Where does one start?  GO TO:  http://www.socialedge.org/discussions/business-models/where-does-one-start

(Social Edge)

This month marks our 10th anniversary as a social enterprise. On February 4, we celebrated our achievements and successes with staff, clients and donors at a big party in Phnom Penh, as well asonline. And we invite you to download our e-book “The Confidence to Dream”, in which several of our graduates tell their stories in their own words. Here on Social Edge, we will also share some of the things we would do differently, if only…

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Reach Customers Efficiently With This Mobile Marketing Advice


TIP! You need to build a great database first. Avoiding just adding cell phone numbers to your mobile marketing database.

Mobile marketing can give businesses the opportunity to grow their audience and expose their brand to a wider range of niche customers for your services and products. Just about everybody has some sort of mobile or other connected devices such as tablets.

TIP! Pay close attention to what your competitors are doing, this is a great way to gain an edge in social marketing. You need to set yourself apart from everyone else.

QR codes are efficient when your customers are particularly tech gadgets. Anyone who has a smart phone can use the QR code to access your website. Put them on every printed marketing item, including fliers, catalogs, brochures and anything else.

Recruit friends and family to help you test your marketing methods before trying them on the public.

Your efforts should include driving new folks to your home base or bringing them back to it.Your entire business model shouldn’t be based solely on mobile platform.

TIP! Once you have succeeded with a mobile marketing campaign, then you can begin experimenting with new strategies. To calculate the success you are getting, you should check your campaign longevity and not the sales numbers.

Avoid sending messages to people at inconvenient hours of the early morning or late evening.Even though a person may like what you have to offer, no matter what the message says.

Wait for results are in on your first mobile marketing campaign before you cook up a new one.

The most successful mobile marketing strategies implement changes gradually.You need to do this way too. Use all available resources that you have at your approach.

TIP! Make attempts to go viral in order to ensure your advertisements are seen by many people. These ads may get passed from friend to friend because of how unique, funny or interesting they are.

Although texting with abbreviations is commonplace nowadays, not all of them know what every abbreviation stands for. If your marketing communications are not easily understood by recipients, they will not look at it and you will lose a potential customer.

You may have people not being as receptive as you would like, but either way customer input is too valuable not to garner it at every opportunity!

Keep in mind that mobile equipment to look at your site will navigate with some difficultly.

TIP! Mobile marketing will definitely attract customers, but you have to make sure it works on all mobile devices. If your campaign does not work on all popular mobile devices, you will likely lose tons of customers due to technical issues.

If you are adding SMS to your mobile marketing strategy, be sure that you are honest about how many texts you will be sending out, and be upfront about how many texts they can expect to receive every month. If SMS is used irresponsibly, beware of mobile device notification systems if you’re using SMS improperly.It can feel intrusive. This is a great way to building trust in your brand loyalty.

TIP! Give yourself more than one option when creating your landing page. Testing to make sure that your mobile marketing efforts are working for your customers is just as vital as it always was for testing websites.

Location comes into play a huge role in a great mobile marketing. Your mobile customers can use their mobiles with them at all times and know where you are thanks to this type of marketing. This gives you new ways to market based on location in a way that is not available anywhere else.

TIP! When contemplating using SMS messages to get the word out about your business, be sure to include an opt-in option. Be upfront about how many messages you will send out every month.

Do all the research you can on your target market.Know what your target audience responds to before you spend lots of money on mobile marketing. Are they using cellphones more likely to use mobile devices than desktops? What operating systems run their phones? By researching your audience before launching a marketing campaign, you will understand how to communicate with them better.

Qr Codes

TIP! A key tip to having an effective mobile marketing campaign is to conduct a usability test first, before going live. If you do not preform a test, you may send out messages that are ineffective, or do not work properly, and that would be defeating the whole purpose of your marketing campaign.

QR codes are a smart way to bring in new customers and promote your customers.You can use these codes to pass on various discounts to your business. They are easy to capture with a cell phone. QR codes make it easier to market your products to your customers easily and quickly with information they can use.

TIP! Have a clear strategy and goals when you venture into mobile marketing. The first stages should be dedicated to figuring out what your intended outcome will look like.

As the market grows for mobile devices, so will demand for mobile marketing solutions. If the mobile market keeps developing, mobile marketing could become the most efficient marketing technique. Use the great advice in this article, and you are going to be light years ahead of the competition. Best of luck to you!






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anonymous asked:

That actually doesn't surprise me from the LA Times. They've long been known for in-depth critical journalism, some of their distribution area (Orange Co etc) is actually pretty conservative, & being located where there's been wave after wave of cutting edge social trends for several generations now, they've seen it all. A lot of the coverage of this stuff I've seen from more "middle America" type places seems a bit wide-eyed. -just an Angeleno defending my hometown paper lol

Yeah, I bet their reporters are more than a little jaded. They need to keep this up. I’m just glad to see a major media outlet publish this. I like the LA Times and I’m impressed to see the Op-Ed there. The usual pro-transition commenters are there (I see them all over the Internet, with the same, or similar, user names) but also plenty of clear-eyed people calling them on the BS. The thing is, despite the mostly prostrate media, most ordinary people aren’t swallowing the trans activist propaganda whole. 

How about we play a game called: “Fucking text me back or I’ll assume that you hate me and I’ll spend the rest of my life anxious and on edge about social activities”

Full-TimeData scientist (in Tel-Aviv)

Develop the company proto-types department. In this capacity you will have a chance to tackle some of the most complex problems in social graphs and social influence, using cutting edge big data infrastructure tools and the coolest data on earth.

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Let's Talk About HIV?
Recently, I was asked if there is still a need for a discussion about AIDS since HIV is ‘no longer a death sentence’ and is ‘so easily manageable’. The fact that someone would ask such a question reflects the overwhelming generalized social apathy surrounding HIV/AIDS (H/A) today. It is nearing 34 years since HIV was first discovered in the U.S.; today’s youth is the 3rd in the H/A generation. The fact that 50,000 reported new HIV infections each year in the U.S alone, adding annually to the over 34 million people worldwide surviving with H/A, is answer enough to the above query. In this modern age of perpetuated H/A-related stigma, excess of social apathy, cutting-edge treatment options, and controversial prevention strategies, the H/A discussion may be of more import now than ever. The discussion must continue in a critical manner, if for no other reason, than the hope of having an AIDS-free generation in the near future
The first decades of the H/A epidemic created a hyper-focus on specific populations, such as, men who have sex with men (MSM), sex workers, and injection-drug users (IDU), which, until recently, have left most other at-risk populations marginalized, uneducated, unrepresented, and unprotected. Today’s H/A discussion must become an interactive dialogue to include women (regardless of sexual identity), transgendered individuals, ethnic minorities, substance users, and youth (ages 13-25). Inclusivity is paramount in creating a unified social effort to educate all individuals and youth from past generations, the current generation, and all future generations. After all, according to the CDC, all sexually active individuals whom are not in an honest, monogamous relationship (regardless of gender, ethnicity, or sexual identity) are at-risk for HIV infection. Creating and sustaining an innovative social discussion regarding H/A that reaches all strata of society, especially the historically marginalized, will elicit the social change that is necessary in creating an AIDS-free generation. The discussions must transcend society in general and create interactive dialogue on an individual level regardless of stigma or fear. The CDC’s Start Talking. Stop HIV campaign is a magnificent example of creating an interactive dialogue regarding HIV using social media. This inventive social media campaign is aimed at the MSM community; however, this campaign’s information and message can easily be applied to other marginalized communities at-risk for HIV transmission. Also, there are a number of such campaigns geared to other at-risk populations. The CDC describes the Start Talking. Stop HIV campaign’s goal, “seeks to reduce new HIV infections among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men by encouraging open discussion about a range of HIV prevention strategies and related sexual health issues between sex partners”.  Thus, even the CDC acknowledges the continued need for a critical discussion about HIV so much that they are funding a national campaign based on open, honest, and stigma-free communication as a plausible prevention strategy. So, to answer my own query: yes, a social discussion regarding H/A is still not only relevant but is essential in inclusively and universally educating a generation that has the capability of being AIDS-free. That is monumental not only in its audacious claim but in its auspicious possibility: the containment of the HIV pandemic and suppression of AIDS through treatment, drug therapies, prevention, and the goal of having an undetectable viral load. Agreeably, it is an idyllic notion, but one can hope. Start talking, keep talking, and get others talking critically about HIV. Help stop the spread of HIV-related ignorance, stigma, and the virus itself. It is imperative to remember the cliché that HIV does not discriminate. H/A is found in every population, strata of society, gender identity, sexual identity, ethnicity/race, religious faith in the world. Potentially, any sexually active individual with one or more sexual partner is at-risk for HIV infection. In this third generation of H/A, it is safe to say that everyone is either affected or infected by HIV or AIDS. Following the sentiment of this statement, we are one world and we are one status: 

We Are All HIV +. 




-Bryan HeitzRisk Reduction Specialist
CCCofSN