Magazine Produces Issue Printed In HIV Positive Blood To Confront Prejudices

Natasha Bird

Saatchi & Saatchi Switzerland has teamed up with men's monthly magazine Vangardist to make a striking statement about HIV.

The German-English men's monthly magazine has printed all 3,000 copies of the May 2015 issue with ink containing HIV positive blood samples.

The issue, Saatchi & Saatchi claims, is an attempt to encourage people to take a "hands-on approach to end the social stigma surrounding HIV."

Vangardist's HIV positive issue [Saatchi & Saatchi]
Vangardist's HIV positive issue [Saatchi & Saatchi]

The blood that has been injected into the ink for Vangardist's upcoming issue was donated by three people living with the disease.

Even though the most open-minded of us might secretly raise an eyebrow at the thought of coming in direct contact with HIV positive blood, but have no fear, for safety has, of course, been of principal concern.

The magazine's May issue has been produced with the most rigorous of controls and checks, according to guidelines developed by Harvard and Innsbruck University.

Handling the physical copies of the magazine carries absolutely no risk of infection. it is an artistic ploy, rather than a dangerous statement, as you might already have suspected.

The message is a strong one though.

Many people are still radically uneducated about HIV, from contraction, associations with homosexuality, to treatment, mortality rates and risk of infection.

It is a disease unique for its ability to make people shy away from the truth, turning a blind eye to the facts, rather than to fuel rampant curiosity, as so many other painful diseases do.

In the late 80s and through the 90s, when the AIDs epidemic really squeezed its grip on society, killing people off right left and centre, it was discussed in whispers, rather than screamed from the rooftops as we've seen with the likes of Ebola or swine flu.

HIV is still the 6th biggest killer in the world. [REX] 
HIV is still the 6th biggest killer in the world. [REX] 

Speaking of the editorial decision, Julian Wiehl, Publisher and CEO of Vangardist said:  “The editorial team at Vangardist is committed to dealing with a wide variety of topics affecting our readers. 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.” 

HIV is still the sixth biggest cause of death in the world.

The May issue of Vangardist has been timed to coincide with the "Life Ball" - one of the biggest AIDS charity events globally.

To show your support for this cause, head over to the Facebook page that has been set up for the #HIVHEROES cause.

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