Article by Harley Chase | esPResso Staff Writer
Vangardist, an Austrian progressive male magazine, recently received a slew of attention for its special edition issue printed entirely with ink laced with HIV-positive blood. According to CBS News this special edition cover titled “HIV Heros” is intended to “reignite the conversation” about AIDs and HIV, as it has almost completely faded from public discussion in recent years.
The agency behind the cover, Saatchi & Saatchi Switzerland, had Executive Creative Director Jason Romeyko make a statement on the issue. Romeyko told CBS News that he believes that people are avoiding conversation about HIV and AIDs. Romeyko also assured readers that the covers are 100 percent safe to handle as the virus dies and decomposes once it is outside the body for more than 30 minutes.
The Washington Post reports that the issues come sealed in wrapping, which co-publisher of Vangardist Julian Wiehl hopes signifies that by opening and engaging with the magazine readers can “break the seal to break the stigma” of HIV and AIDS. The five and a half pounds of blood used to create the ink were donated by three HIV-positive people: a 47-year-old mother, a gay 26-year-old man and a 32-year-old straight man. These subjects go against the normal stereotype of those associated with having HIV, which is part of the message Vangardist wanted to send with its new edition. The one-part blood to 28-part ink mixture ratio was used to print 3,000 copies of the magazine with a number of these copies being auctioned off for charity. The issue will also be available online and 15,000 copies with regular ink will be printed and sold.
According to CBS News, some AIDS activist groups and other organizations are not responding well to the magazine’s idea, as they feel it may create backlash against people with the virus. However, the magazine’s goal is to generate conversation about a cause that has gone a long time without being discussed. Although the Vangardist HIV special issue may not completely resonate with its publics, its edgy and bizarre execution helped accomplish its goal of bringing more attention and awareness to HIV and AIDS.