Who We Serve
Since 2002, The Well Project has directly touched more than 14 million people. These individuals have in turn shared The Well Project's information and support network with approximately 30 million more women and men living with HIV worldwide. Over time, The Well Project has shifted from being a primarily U.S.-based resource to a global one, with more than 70 percent of our annual 1.3 million visitors now coming from outside the United States.
A recent survey provided us with insights about those using our online resources, including:
- Most of our visitors are women (70 percent) from urban areas (60 percent) who are between the ages of 36 and 55 years old (58 percent)
- Nearly 70 percent of respondents find the work of The Well Project extremely valuable to them or their families
- More than 50 percent of our users identify as living with HIV, while 28 percent identify as health care providers and just under 20 percent as HIV educators.
- The Well Project's visitors share what they learn. Almost 40 percent reported that they share the information they find on The Well Project with three to five other people, 23 percent with 10-20 people, and 17 percent with more than 100 people.
What We Do
The Well Project's web portal feature more than 150 articles providing up-to-date, trusted, and accurate information about HIV, especially as it relates to women. According to our survey, increasing their knowledge of HIV and its treatments was the most important reason that our users accessed The Well Project's resources.
Survey respondents also indicated how The Well Project's resources have changed their lives:
- More than 20 percent reported being more adherent to their HIV drugs and having increased access to health care
- More than one-third reported better communication with their health care providers
- Approximately one-quarter reported having safer sex
- More than 40 percent reported that they engage in better self-care (nutrition, mental health, exercise), and almost one fifth said The Well Project's resources helped them to feel confident becoming pregnant while living with HIV
As one respondent noted, "the articles on The Well Project help break the walls around us and come out of silence by keeping us educated with up-to-date information. It has made me more aware of the virus, smarter with doctors, and more educated about my health and well-being."
At the International AIDS Conference in 2012, The Well Project launched its first mobile application, currently available in Android and iOS platforms. Given that mobile devices allow women low-cost, safe opportunities to access HIV information, our goal is to maximize access to life-saving prevention and treatment information using novel technologies.
Connection is what makes the information on The Well Project's online resources come alive. Ultimately, these connections help to decrease stigma and isolation, increase knowledge, and engage women and girls living with HIV. This in turn enhances the overall health of the communities in which they live.
According to a recent survey:
- More than 70 percent of respondents said they felt less isolated as a result of connecting to others through The Well Project's online resources
- More than 50 percent reported decreased self-stigma and improved self-esteem.
The Well Project's programs connect women to a community of support, including:
- The A Girl Like Me blog, a unique online global support community that enables women and girls with HIV to share their stories and experiences in a safe place and offers the diverse perspectives of more than 20 active bloggers
- New community/social features on our updated website
- Connection with partner organizations, broadening access to knowledge and resources, and extending the reach of our partners' important work
Combining the use of new media/social media with storytelling and community support is an innovative way to connect with women safely, wherever they live. Many women tell us A Girl Like Me is the first place they are able to speak freely about their HIV status and connect with other women living with HIV. These connections enable women to help each other through a series of next steps – finding a health care provider, disclosing to family members, starting HIV treatment, helping overcome stigma, getting pregnant, and other important health-enhancing, life-affirming actions.
Maria Mejia, a blogger for A Girl Like Me, describes her work with The Well Project as "impacting me deeply. Especially when someone living in shame tells me that I have inspired them or given them hope…Showing my face and writing about my experiences living with HIV for almost 24 years empowers me and helps me by helping others."
Since 2003, the Women's Research Initiative on HIV/AIDS (WRI) has served as an expert, trans-disciplinary think tank identifying critical gaps in research on HIV and women. This program brings together HIV/AIDS thought leaders representing clinical care, research, academia, advocacy, government, the pharmaceutical industry, and women living with HIV in an effort to elevate, enhance, and expedite HIV treatment and prevention research on women and girls.
As one long-time participant explained, the WRI brings together a "brilliant, interdisciplinary group of people who are committed to making a difference in the epidemic by focusing on women living with and at risk for HIV. WRI provides a rare space… in which we can leverage our creative thinking and planning to identify and address the gaps in HIV research among women." (Tonia Poteat).
Over the past decade, the WRI has been responsible for initiatives that have directly impacted the progress and direction of HIV research. The questions raised, issues discussed, and energy generated by the annual WRI meetings has had broad-reaching effects, including:
- Influencing the National Institutes of Health's women and girls' HIV plan
- Establishing an ongoing dialogue with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that influenced a meta-analysis of women-specific data across studies of antiretrovirals
- Informing the development of several notable studies of women and HIV, including the GRACE Study and the Women Living Positively Survey
We are working to ensure that our programs have the power to dramatically improve both health outcomes and quality of life for women and girls living with HIV. We are undertaking efforts to increase the reach and scope of our programs, using novel technologies and insights provided by our users, as well as experts in the field.
- To increase the accessibility of current, accurate information about HIV for women around the world, our goals are to:
- provide our online resources in an updated, easy-to-navigate web platform and mobile application
- translate and make more culturally-relevant The Well Project's most-popular resources into additional languages to better serve our global audience
- To decrease women's stigma and isolation while increasing their self-care and engagement in treatment, our goals are to:
- strengthen our support community by expanding the reach of A Girl Like Me blogs and increase social connectivity through new features such as groups, forums, and instant chat to the web portal
- To improve the conditions for women to access and be succesfully engaged in HIV treatment, our goals are to:
- increase the number of HIV-positive women involved in the decision-making process related to treatment research, clinical trial design and guideline development
Ultimately, by connecting women to information, a global support community and advocacy tools, we believe we can change the course of the HIV pandemic…one woman at a time.