Magazine Prints Issue In HIV Positive Blood
To make a big point, a small Austrian men’s magazine printed an entire edition using ink laced with HIV-positive blood. The idea, said Julian Wiehl, co-publisher of The Vangardist — a “progressive” magazine aimed at young, urban men — was to make a statement about the stigma still associated with the virus that no one could ignore.
I think you’ll agree they succeeded, wildly.
“If you see the magazine . . . the first question that comes to your mind is, ‘Would I touch it? Would I take it in my hands?'” Wiehl said in an interview. “And the second question is, ‘Why would I touch it?’ or ‘Why wouldn’t I touch it?'”
From a health and safety perspective, picking up the magazine is not a problem. As we’ve known for many years, the human immunodeficiency virus quickly dies outside the body and can only be transmitted by direct contact with body fluids, mainly blood and semen. To be doubly sure, and to kill any other pathogens, Vangardist autoclaved the HIV-positive blood obtained from three donors before mixing it with the red ink used to print the magazine. The ink used in all 3,000 copies of the printed edition is 1 part blood to 28 parts ink, Wiehl said. There also is some blue ink to highlight its “Heroes of HIV” theme.
The magazine comes in a sealed wrapper, forcing the reader to “break the seal to break the stigma,” Wiehl said. To avoid violating laws that govern transport of blood or blood products across borders, the edition can be ordered only online.
Definitely a bold way to call attention to the stigma. Would you pick one up and read it?