Our mission statement:
Ohio Friends is a social, support group for those with Herpes and/or HPV (human papillomavirus). Since 1999 our purpose has been to provide friendship and support to those affected by these viruses.
Ohio Friends, Inc. © 1999 - 2010 | All Rights Reserved
July 30, 1999
Ohio Friends began as Cleveland Friends United. Five of us met for an afternoon boat ride through the flats in Cleveland. By the time we were at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame we had dropped United and became just Cleveland Friends.
Early on we were helped by “Pittsburg Friends”, another H group that we thank for showing us the way. Our first event was well attended. Members came from all over the state: Athens, Columbus, Wellsville, Toledo, Sandusky, etc. It didn't take long for us to realize we weren't alone and that a group such as ours was needed. We went from 5 to 30 members within a month and by September we had over 100 members.
In 2000 we changed our name to Ohio Friends and continued to grow statewide. Columbus Friends was our first chapter, raising over 200 dollars from its first event and advertising in the Ohio State Lantern our first display ad. That same year Ohio Friends helped start Cleveland HELP East. An ASHA herpes and HPV help group; sadly it ended a few years later but helped a lot of people while it was active. Last but not least, 2000 was also the year of the 1st Masquerade Ball later known as THE MASQUE. This Ohio Friends first national event was held in Cleveland. Over 130 people attended from as far away as California, Missouri and Georgia and as close as Michigan and Pennsylvania. Good times! Sadly, 2006 was the last masque we hosted, as participation has dropped significantly in recent years. THE MASQUE waits for its return.
Many of our original members have married, showing us all that there is life and love after herpes. Those of us still helping out and attending meetings/events know how important Ohio Friends has been to those who found us. It is our hope that Ohio Friends continues to grow in order to help those who need our support and friendship.
Please help support us with your donation or your time. Many of us are past the bad times; we've gotten education and found love and/or friendship. We have moved on with our lives. But there are many more people across Ohio who need this group. Please join us in keeping it going by making a modest donation or by volunteering your time by hosting an event, writing a newsletter, or showing up at an event. Ohio Friends needs you.
Thanks to all our members who have helped support this group. YOU ARE APPRECIATED!!
In 2010, our 11th year, our mission will grow to include education and prevention. We hope to accomplish this through advertising our website, distribution of pamphlets, and by next year, our first safer sex seminar!