The Well Project Privacy Policy

In order to facilitate a community of women sharing health information and life experiences, The Well Project uses this website as a forum for conversation and a tool to collect the wisdom, personal experiences and opinions, and information our users are willing to share with us. We recognize, honor, and protect that information.  The Privacy Policy below spells out exactly how we do that, and the choices you can make about the way your information is collected and used.

Table of Contents

Our Commitment to Privacy

We realize that asking you to share personal information is a serious request. We understand the very real threat that stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV poses and how important your privacy is.  We promise to protect information that personally identifies you (“Personal Information”) with the same care and strength with which we would protect our own.

If users have questions or concerns regarding this Privacy Policy, please contact

This Privacy Policy explains:

  • What information The Well Project collects
  • Who is collecting the information
  • How The Well Project will use the information we collect
  • With whom the information may be shared
  • What choices you have regarding collection, use and distribution of your information
  • What kind of security procedures The Well Project has in place to protect the loss, misuse, or alteration of information under our control
  • How you can correct any errors in the information

Information collection

The Well Project is the sole owner of the information collected on our website ( (the “Website”). We collect information from our users at several different points on the Website as described below. The Well Project does not share, sell, rent, or trade Personal Information with third parties for promotional purposes.


You may use much of the Website without registering or submitting any Personal Information. In this case, the only information we collect is non-personal information collected through the use of “cookies” (see details below). We currently offer registration (i.e., signing up as a member) so that you can access the Website’s social features (e.g., instant chat, posting on forums, creating or joining groups) and join our mailing list (for periodic e-newsletters, surveys, etc.). This information is stored securely in our user profile database.

You can always opt-out of receiving such emails or unsubscribe to newsletters by clicking the "unsubscribe" link found at the bottom of each newsletter or correspondence. You will then be unsubscribed from that newsletter automatically. If you are experiencing difficulties with our automated unsubscribe service, please email us at The Well Project will unsubscribe you in two to three business days.

Sharing information

When you register to become a member on the Website, you will be asked to provide a username (public), email address (not public), password (not public), and first and last name (not public).  The username can be your true name or you can choose an alias (a name you make up).  Any additional information you share on your user profile page is entirely optional and will not in any way limit your ability to use the site or any of its features. This optional personal information (bio, city, state, country, image, social media links) will be stored in our user profile database. You are able to change or update this personal information at any time by accessing your account. Please refer to the “Overview/FAQs” page of the Website for specific instructions on how to control the information you add to your member page.

By sharing your personal information, you give us the best opportunity to learn about our community of women living with HIV and to understand how we might influence the development of educational programs and research initiatives to improve the lives of all women living with HIV/AIDS. We ask that you provide as much (or as little) information as you feel comfortable sharing. Your information is secure and encrypted, and will never be shared with any third party to identify you personally unless you expressly request The Well Project to share this information.

What are cookies?

A cookie is a piece of data stored on the user’s computer that is tied to information about the user. We use both session ID cookies and persistent cookies. For the session ID cookie, once users close the browser (e.g., Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox), the cookie disappears. A persistent cookie is a small text file stored on the user’s hard drive for an extended period of time. Persistent cookies can be removed by following your Internet browser’s directions.

Every computer is assigned a different cookie by The Well Project. The information collected by cookies helps us to monitor usage patterns on our site and selected partners' sites. We may use cookie information to target certain information to your browser or to determine the popularity or geographical interest of certain content.  However, cookies are not tied to your personally identifiable information.

Your Internet browser’s software can be set to reject all cookies. Most browsers offer instructions on how to reset the browser to reject cookies in the "Help" section of the toolbar. If you reject our cookie, certain functions and conveniences of our site may not work the way they were intended. However, you do not have to accept our cookie in order to use our site. If you accept our cookie, we will link your user id to site usage patterns.

Social sharing features

At the top of most articles and pages, you have the opportunity to use the "Share This" social sharing icons, including Facebook and Twitter, which will allow you to share these items on your social medial accounts. When you use The Well Project's "E-mail" application, The Well Project e-mails the article or other content you designate to your friend's e-mail address and lists what you supply as your e-mail address as the sender. The Well Project uses the friend's e-mail address only for the purpose of sending your friend the e-mail you requested and for no other purpose.

Online donations

Personally identifiable information collected by The Well Project through the online donation process is voluntary information. We ask you to provide us with your name and e-mail address. We will also give you the opportunity to make your donation “in honor of” or “in memory of” an individual or group. If you choose to provide this information it will be stored in our database and used only for the purposes of (a) sending you an electronic receipt for your donation, and (b) listing your name on the Website page entitled “Supporters of The Well Project.” Please note that you may choose to be listed by your name or as an anonymous supporter.

When you make an online donation to The Well Project via the Website, PayPal collects personally identifiable information. The Well Project does not have access to the credit card or bank account information you enter on the PayPal website. The Well Project contracts with PayPal because we believe PayPal to be a trusted, reliable, secure source for online donations. We encourage you to read the PayPal Privacy Policy to learn how PayPal uses and stores your personally identifiable information. When you make an online donation to The Well Project via PayPal, PayPal will notify The Well Project of your donation and provide us with your e-mail address. We will only use this e-mail address to send you an electronic receipt for your donation.

Information use

We do not share your personal profile information with third parties.  However, collective trends including your profile will be shared in aggregate form, allowing The Well Project to analyze data from our user population to generate research and program agendas to better serve our users. By sharing your personal information and experiences, you contribute to the collection of valuable data about women living with HIV/AIDS.  It is our fundamental belief that by sharing this aggregate information, we can influence how the millions of dollars invested every year into treatment research, clinical trials, and education are spent.

What is aggregate information?

The Well Project may provide to third parties non-personal information about you that does not allow you to be identified or contacted and that is combined with the non-personal information of other users. This is what we describe as “aggregate information.” For example, we may produce reports for third parties, including potential grantors, regarding the number of users of the Website and the activities they participate in while on the Website. If data is collected, we might create a report listing demographic information of the Website’s visitors.

Information collected and/or stored in “Get Connected”

All information that is received, used, or disclosed in connection with “Get Connected” is encrypted. This means that when the information is transmitted over the telephone or other communication wires or other means of transmission, it is transmitted as a series of symbols and characters that are not readable in normal circumstances but which are later de-scrambled by a computer system that allows you to read the information and us to store the information within the safe confines of our respective computer environments.

The Well Project collects the Personal Information you voluntarily store in Get Connected. The Well Project does not use the Personal Information stored in Get Connected for any purpose except to provide members with a readily accessible, easy-to-update means of collecting and storing information, articles, slides, and data sets that are of particular interest to you. The only entities that will have access to Get Connected are The Well Project itself and any third parties hired by The Well Project to assist us in operating, maintaining, and improving the site. These third parties are required by us to hold your information in the strictest of confidence and may not use or disclose it except to fulfill the service we hired them to perform. The Well Project will not share any of the information that is stored in Get Connected with any other third parties without your express permission.

Disclosure of your information

The Well Project will not disclose any Personal Information it gathers from you on the Website except as we have set forth in this Privacy Policy or as requested in writing by you. We may release Personal Information to third parties to comply with valid legal requirements such as a law, regulation, search warrant, subpoena or court order, or in special cases, such as a physical threat to you or others. In the event that we are legally compelled to disclose your Personal Information to a third party, we will notify you unless doing so would violate the law or court order.

Disclosure to The Well Project third party contractors

The Well Project employs third party contractors who sometimes have limited access to your Personal Information in the course of providing products or services to The Well Project. These contractors include technology specialists and analysts who provide us with services and/or analysis related to improving the operation and managing the maintenance of the Website. These contractors also may have access to your e-mail address to send newsletters to you on our behalf or to send e-mails to you for purposes such as conducting market research on our behalf.

Access to your Personal Information by these contractors is limited to the information the contractor will require to perform this limited function for The Well Project. The Well Project requires that all third party contractors who have access to such Personal Information sign a contract agreeing to protect the privacy of your Personal Information under the guidelines of this Privacy Policy, and not to use or disclose your Personal Information for any purpose other than providing us with the services for which we have contracted them.

Disclosure to linked sites

For your convenience we provide links to websites operated by companies other than The Well Project ("Third Party Websites"). These links may be referenced within content or placed beside the names or logos of sponsors. The Well Project does not disclose your Personal Information to these Third Party Websites without first obtaining your consent. The Well Project does not endorse and is not responsible for the privacy practices of these sites. If you choose to link to one of these Third Party Websites, you should review the privacy policy posted on the linked site to understand how that Third Party Website collects and uses your Personal Information and to decide whether or not you will agree to the terms of use of the Third Party Website.

When The Well Project Will Contact You

When you register or join The Well Project, you are indicating your consent to permit The Well Project to store your username, email address, password, first name/last name, and any other additional information you provide in our database. We provide a regular e-mail newsletter that will tell you about new content or functionality on our site as well as special programs of interest available through the web or otherwise.

We will contact you in response to any inquiry you make to our support or service staff with regard to any question, suggestion, or comment you may have about this policy or about the Website in general. Please use one of the e-mail addresses listed in our “Contact Us” section to submit any questions, suggestions, or concerns you may have.

Occasionally, we will e-mail you surveys or questionnaires to request feedback that can be used to enhance the Website to better serve your needs.

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service-related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance, we might send users an e-mail. Generally, a user may not opt out of these communications, though she can de-activate her account in order to stop these communications. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Changes to the Privacy Policy

The Well Project will regularly review the Privacy Policy to ensure that it provides an appropriate level of protection for your Personal Information. From time to time, we may make changes to the Privacy Policy to keep it current with industry standards and to ensure it complies with the practices we use on the Website. We will post the date of the most recent revisions on this Privacy Policy page. We will also post a notice on our Homepage of any substantial or significant changes to this policy that would materially affect your rights as described herein. Please check this page from time to time to make sure that you are current and up-to-date on our Privacy Policy. Please keep in mind that your use of the Website means that you accept our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions and understand that they may be amended at any time.

Policy Relating to Advertising, Children, Public Forums, and E-mail Communication

Advertising policy

The Well Project does not host or receive funding from advertising.


We are committed to protecting the privacy of children. This website is not designed or intended to attract children under the age of 13. We do not knowingly or purposefully collect Personal Information from any person under the age of 13.

Public forums

This Privacy Policy does not protect you from third parties when you join The Well Project on Facebook or Twitter (or participate in discussions on these websites). The Well Project offers discussion boards on Facebook where users with similar topics for discussion can share information and support one another or where users can post questions for experts to answer. You should be aware that any information shared in a discussion thread, chat room, bulletin board, or other online dialog is public information and may be seen, disclosed to or collected by third parties that do not adhere to our Privacy Policy. Please think carefully before disclosing any personal information in any public forum.

E-mails to The Well Project

This Privacy Policy does not protect you when you send business information, ideas, concepts, or inventions to The Well Project by email to the various The Well Project departments listed on the "Contact Us" link on the Website. If you want to keep business information, ideas, concepts, or inventions private or proprietary, do not send them via email to The Well Project. We try to answer every email in a timely manner but are not always able to do so.

How The Well Project Handles Privacy and Security Internally

We take every reasonable precaution to protect your Personal Information. When you provide us with Personal Information, it is protected both online and off-line.

Username and password

The first line of protection is your encrypted password, selected by you, which, along with your username, forms the basis for registration to the Website. Your username is unique to you, and is only effective for protected site access in combination with your password. No one can access any of the secure areas of the Website without a proper username and password combination.

Since Personal Information will only be displayed or entered in a secure area, the combination of the unique username and password provides considerable protection.


In addition to the password protection, any Personal Information you provide is encrypted.


To protect against hackers entering our server environment, we have put in place appropriate firewalls. Data contained on our servers is visible only to proprietary middleware applications. Log-in passwords are required by internal staff and are changed on a periodic basis. All internal activity is logged.

Off-line protection

We also work very hard to protect Personal Information off-line. Any information we receive, whether defined as Personal Information or not, is restricted in our offices. Only employees (and certain contractors, as detailed above) who need the information to perform a specific job (for example, our database administrators) are granted access to your Personal Information. ALL of our employees are kept up-to-date on our security and privacy practices.

Government subpoenas, warrants or orders

We reserve the right to disclose your Personal Information as required by law and when we believe that disclosure is necessary to protect our rights and/or comply with a judicial proceeding, court order, or legal process served on our website.  You will be notified if this occurs.

Physical security

We also protect and secure the physical environment in which data is stored. We store Personal Information on servers kept within locked, environmentally controlled server rooms.

Statement regarding HIPAA compliance

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA") controls the collection, use, and distribution of individually identifiable health information by certain health care providers, called "covered entities" under the statute.

The Well Project is not a “covered entity” as that term is defined under HIPAA. As a result, and because you (instead of a third party) have willingly and knowingly provided the information we collect, HIPAA does not apply to our Website or services.

Updating Your Personal Information and Contacting The Well Project

You can always contact us in order to delete your Personal Information from our systems, update the Personal Information that you have provided to us, and change your preferences by emailing us at Such changes will not have any effect on other information that The Well Project maintains. If you have a complaint or problem, you may email us at and the customer service department will forward your complaint to the appropriate internal department at The Well Project for a response or resolution. We try to answer every email in a timely manner but are not always able to do so. If you do not receive adequate resolution of a privacy related problem, you may send written correspondence to The Well Project at:

The Well Project
P.O. Box 220410
Brooklyn NY 11222

or call (888) 616-WELL.

You should be aware that it is not technologically possible to remove each and every record of the information you have provided to The Well Project from our servers. The need to back-up our systems to protect information from inadvertent loss means that a copy of your Personal Information may exist in a non-erasable form that will be difficult or impossible for us to locate. Nevertheless, we promise that upon receiving your request, all Personal Information stored in the databases we actively use for research and daily business activities, and other readily searchable media, will be deleted.

© 2003-2020 The Well Project, Inc., a Not For Profit Corporation. All rights reserved.


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