Vangardist magazine prints new issue with ink infused with HIV-positive blood to challenge social stigma


By Cameron Clarke | Editor

May 2, 2015 | 2 min read

Men's magazine Vangardist is inviting its readers to "take a hands-on approach to end the social stigma surrounding HIV" by printing its new issue with ink infused with HIV-positive blood.

In a campaign created with Saatchi & Saatchi Switzerland, all 3,000 copies of the European magazine's spring edition have been made with blood donated by three people living with the virus.

The magazine has been produced according to guidelines established by Harvard and Innsbruck University, ensuring it is "100 per cent safe" to handle and carries no risk of infection.

Julian Wiehl, publisher and CEO of Vangardist, said: "With 80 per cent more confirmed cases of HIV being recorded in 2013 than 10 years previously, and an estimated 50 per cent 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 magazine's publication coincides with one of the biggest HIV events in the world, Life Ball, which takes place in Vangardist's home town of Vienna.

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But as HIV remains the sixth biggest cause of death in the world, the campaign aims to force the issue back onto the news agenda in a deeper way, according to Saatchi & Saatchi Switzerland.

Executive creative director Jason Romeyko said: "When Vangardist approached us to help them raise awareness of this important cause around Life Ball in Vienna, we knew we had met a brave client.

"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-positive people. By holding the issue, readers are immediately breaking the taboo."

Along with the print edition, an accompanying Facebook page - HIV Heroes - will draw on the social community to further help foster discussion.


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