Il/legitimate communities of HIV: How the virus went virtual and what ‘we’ did with it. Dr Sharif Mowlabocus Senior Lecturer - Digital Media University of Sussex This presentation is centered around two ‘digital narratives’ of HIV. In both narratives, networked communities are central actors. In both narratives, these communities come to form a set of relationships to the HIV virus. In both narratives, digital and social media technologies have become platforms for community and individual articulation. In doing so, they also echo broader changes within the media practices of the sub-population most affected by HIV/AIDS in the UK – gay men, bisexual men and MSM. The first community, an ‘illegitimate’ community of HIV, is made of up those men who identify with, congregate around, or otherwise fantasize about bareback sex – unprotected sex between men. The second ‘legitimate’ community of HIV, is that which is being formed by health promotion outreach workers in the digital spaces used by men to maintain identities and negotiate sexual ‘hook ups’. Taken together, these two narratives demonstrate the ways in which virtual communities have formed around the HIV virus. These communities are creative, fluid and mobile. They are also contradictory and provocative and they challenge existing understandings of the virus and the relationships that people form with it. At the same time, they are examples of the ways in which the ‘Virus + Community’ equation is being continually rewritten in order to articulate our shifting perceptions of, and relationship to HIV.