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Queer Men's Magazine Prints Issue With HIV-Positive Blood-Infused Ink

Queer Men's Magazine Prints Issue With HIV-Positive Blood-Infused Ink


Vangardist’s editors want the #HIVHEROES edition to chip away at the stigma surrounding HIV.

The general public has been aware of HIV and AIDS for about 30 years now. Over the three decades since the first infections, a great many of medical and scientific breakthroughs have transformed what was once a death sentence into a manageable and treatable condition.

That being said the disease still kills and the social stigma surrounding being positive still looms large.

The editorial team of Vangardist, an Austrian queer men’s magazine, have thought of a novel way to bring awareness to HIV and its lingering opprobrium: they’ve printed their entire May issue in ink infused with HIV-Positive Blood.

A limited edition—only 3,000 copies will be printed—and only available in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, Vangardist’s May issue coincides with Life Ball, one of the world’s largest HIV events, which takes place in Vienna, the publication's home town.

“The editorial team at Vangardist is committed to dealing with a wide variety of topics affecting our readers, said Julian Wiehl, Vangardist’s publisher and CEO. “We believe that as a lifestyle magazine it is our responsibility to address the issues shaping society today. 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.”  

Developed in cooperation with Saatchi & Saatchi Switzerland, an ad agency, the printing processes was developed according to guidelines established by Harvard and Innsbruck University. Handling the print edition is, of course, 100 percent safe and there is zero risk of infection.

Furthermore, the Vangardist team has kicked off the #HIVHEROES, which they hope will foster discussions of HIV around the globe. For so many young gay and bi men, who have not lost someone to the disease and for whom HIV seems like a relic from the past, the tactile sensation of handling something printed with HIV-positive blood may throw the stigma, causes, and consequences of HIV into high relief.

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