An issue in your hands

There are many creative uses for bodily fluids, like semen being used for secret messagesreligious icons being soaked in urine for art, or Whybin\TBWA adding the claret of some All Blacks to an Adidas poster (and going on to win a whole heap of awards). Now Saatchi & Saatchi Switzerland and Austrian progressive men’s magazine Vangardist have taken that idea even further by adding HIV positive blood to its ink and trying to end the social stigma surrounding the virus. 

To coincide with one of the biggest HIV events in the world, Life Ball, which takes place every year in Vangardist’s home town of Vienna, it printed 3,000 copies of its Spring issue with ink infused with HIV+ blood donated by three individuals living with the virus. 

A release says the magazine was produced according to the most stringent controls and using processes developed according to guidelines established by Harvard and Innsbruck University, ensuring that the handling of a physical copy of the magazines carries no risk of infection and is 100 percent safe. 

“Despite 30 years of campaigning, activism and research, HIV remains the sixth biggest cause of death in the world. Yet for many people the virus is seen as ‘old news’, with discussion and debate relegated to just one or two days a year when key communities and organisations around the world force the issue back onto the news agenda.” 

The social stigma surrounding the disease remains one of the key factors preventing effective management, and ultimately the eradication of the virus, so Vangardist has aimed to reignite conversations about this topic with this idea. 

“The editorial team at Vangardist is committed to dealing with a wide variety of topics affecting our readers,” says Julian Wiehl, publisher and chief executive of Vangardist. “We believe that as a lifestyle magazine it is our responsibility to address the issues shaping society today.  With 80% more confirmed cases of HIV being recorded in 2013 than 10 years previously, and an estimated 50% of HIV cases being detected late due to lack of testing caused by social stigma associated with the virus. This felt like a very relevant issue for us to focus on not just editorially but also from a broader communications stand point.”  

There is also a Facebook page based around HIV Heroes, which “aims to be one of the most widely visited and ‘liked’ HIV related pages on Facebook.   

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