Austrian men's magazine Vangardist is directly tackling the social stigma associated with HIV by printing the latest issue using ink made from HIV-positive blood.
"The magazine has been printed with the blood of HIV+ people," the cover reads. "Now the issue is in your hands."
Vangardist created this special edition to coincide with the start of Life Ball, one of the largest AIDS charity events in the world. "We believe that as a lifestyle magazine, it is our responsibility to address the issues shaping society today," wrote Julian Wiehl, publisher and CEO of Vangardist, in a statement. "With 80 percent more confirmed cases of HIV being recorded in 2013 than 10 years previously, and an estimated 50 percent 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."
The special edition issue of 3,000, which is 100 percent safe to handle, was created using a ratio of 28 parts standard ink to 1 part blood. The blood was donated to the Vangardist by three HIV-positive individuals and sent to a lab at the University of Innsbruck for pasteurization. The extreme heat applied guarantees that the virus is killed and unable to be transmitted.
To accompany the issue, the magazine has also launched a special Facebook page and hashtag #HIVHEROES to recognize those willing to publicly show their support and break the stigmas associated with the disease.
"With this unique project, we want to create a response in a heartbeat by transforming the media into the very root of the stigma itself — by printing every word, line, picture and page of the magazine with blood from HIV+ people," said Jason Romeyko, executive creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi, the magazine's parent company. "By holding the issue, readers are immediately breaking the taboo."
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