How did the face come to be?
Mr Friendly needed both a plus and a minus sign to represent positive and negative HIV statuses. If either eye was a plus sign, then he looked like he got punched in the eye! So it made sense for the nose to be the plus sign. I chose a red smile for a lip color, and gave him a blue eye maybe because I have blue eyes? My husband Ken is a graphic designer. He worked up my sketch into the easily recognizable design you see today.
Does Mr Friendly 501c3 non-profit status?
Yes! Mr Friendly is a program of Community AIDS Resource and Education Services (CARES) in Kalamazoo, MI. I currently work there as an HIV Prevention Specialist. CARES serves 11 counties, covering all of Southwest Michigan and has generously expanded their mission by adopting the Mr Friendly program.
Does donning the Mr Friendly symbol mean somebody is HIV positive?
No! The symbol has both a positive and a negative symbol on the smiling face. Both statuses are the same color to keep the symbols balanced. The symbol is designed specifically to NOT indicate status, but to encourage open, honest and educated discussion about HIV.
Is Mr Friendly for men only?
Mr Friendly is for everybody. When initially launched, I did have Ms Friendly buttons available, but wherever I went, there was little interest in a Ms Friendly. Mr Friendly isn’t a male character, it’s a symbol. Someone once told me “we don’t need a Mr Butterworth’s or a Mrs. Clean, right?” That’s when I let go of the Ms Friendly counterpart. If a need arose, or if there were significant requests, we can consider recreating a Ms Friendly.