Magazine Prints Issue Using HIV+ Blood
Vangardist collaborates with Saatchi and Saatchi to re-spark a public health dialogue about the virus
Vangardist, the progressive men’s magazine based in Vienna, stays true to its forward-thinking artistic vision with its most recent issue that puts stories about HIV directly into the hands of readers. The publication has generated awareness about HIV by printing a special edition where every word and page contains HIV+ blood-infused ink.
The magazine, which publishes in both English and German, has curated 3,000 copies with sensitivity for the topic and safety of the readers. It was the courage of three people living with HIV that helped bring the creative endeavor to life.
Given that the cover contains HIV+ blood, questions about the risk for infection have been asked; the magazine has assured protective measures were implemented so that each copy is safe to handle. The three donors donated blood samples, which were sent to a lab at the University of Innsbruck for pasteurization. The heating process ensures the disease is unable to be transmitted.
The launch takes place during the timely occasion of the Life Ball, one of the world’s largest HIV events in Vienna. Equally relevant, the World Health Organization reported an 80 percent increase in confirmed cases of HIV than 10 years previously. “The reason why that’s happening is people just aren’t talking about it anymore,” Jason Romeyko, the Executive Creative Director of Saatchi & Saatchi Switzerland said in a press release.
It’s the lack of conversation about HIV altogether that has been a long time enemy of the disease, a long-time cause of improper treatment or management of the disease. Purposefully, the provocativeness of the magazine will literally put the topic in the hands of readers so we may address the eradication of the disease in a way that’s tangible. “Break the seal and help break the stigma,” the plastic seal around the issue reads.
To spotlight people who speak up in light of the social stigma, the hashtag #HIVHEROES unites an online community willing to take action through public conversation.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen artists transform a virus into art. In January, the Gates Foundation commissioned a digital storytelling campaign to raise funds and awareness for life-saving vaccinations. Rather than shy away from difficult topics, media leaders are imagining the potential for greater public health through contemporary interpretations.