Project Details

Cartoon characters standing on the globe


Fighting HIV and AIDS, one click at a time


Project URL:
Project Twitter: @dotHIV

Organisation URL:

  • Economic Empowerment
  • Health
  • Data
  • Internet
  • Physical Computing

DotHIV is the first domain name to be dedicated solely to raising funds and awareness for a single social issue – by registering a website with the .hiv suffix, instead of .com or, any organisation can directly support programmes fighting HIV and AIDS. 

Founder Carolin Silbernagl compares it to the profoundly influential red ribbon launched as a symbol of solidarity for AIDS in 1991. While huge strides have been made since the first cases of HIV appeared in 1981, only half of the 34m HIV-positive population around the world have access to treatment, falling to just 35% of those eligible in low and middle-income countries. To date, AIDS has taken the lives of 28m people.

Silbernagl wants dotHIV to increase the visibility, momentum, collaboration, and funding for AIDS programmes in the face of dwindling governmental financial contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, which have been falling since 2011. 

Companies pay a $17 monthly subscription for a web address ending .hiv (which they can populate with specific content, or from which they can simply redirect users to their standard homepage). With each visit, the domain registry donates 0.1 cents (reserved from the site’s rental fee) to community projects devoted to fighting the disease, especially those that are using technology to do so. 

The first four projects were hand chosen, and include the Rwandan project WE-ACTx for HOPE, which uses mobile phones to help young people stick to treatment, but once the site has reached critical mass, the community will vote for the projects they want to fund. 

Chanel, Instagram, Amazon, tumblr, LinkedIn, Samsung and BMW are among the corporates that have already registered domains via the six-person non-profit, which launched in August. Most are expected to use the suffix on campaigns to tie in with World AIDS Day on 1 December. 

The top-level domain took $1m to fund, with Google supporting the micro-donations facility and PricewaterhouseCoopers providing pro-bono accountancy services. 70% of domain fees go direct to HIV programmes, increasing to 80% after the start-up has recouped costs. The plan was drawn up with UNAIDS, WHO and Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria.

‘We haven’t won the fight against AIDS yet,’ says Silbernagl. ‘But we have a historic chance to do so if we reinforce and unite our efforts. It will now be possible to click on .hiv addresses and make a difference in the fight against AIDS.’

Image courtesy of think with Google

Last updated: 17th of September, 2014

Cookies on the Social Tech Guide

Social Tech Guide uses cookies to provide you with an enhanced user experience. To remove this message, please click continue.

Continue Learn more