HIV-positive blood: Used in printing Vangardist to call attention to the disease or to itself

Vangardist, a lifestyle German magazine printed the issue in accordance with the famed Life Ball in Vienna, which raises funds for HIV/AIDS issues, Jason Romeyko said, the creative director of Saatchi and Saatchi, who in collaboration with Vangardist team, who developed the idea.

The goal was to challenge the readers’ stigma about the incurable disease and to get people be made aware again, as people seem to talk rarely about it anymore, except perhaps only during World AIDS Day,  Romeyko said.

Romeyko told ABC News, “People feel that the problem is solved and feel nothing is happening.”

To generate the “HIV+” issue, the creative editorial team utilized  blood of three HIV-positive donors, with  the goal to find individuals who represent a range of HIV-positive people. The donors include an older straight man who did not reveal publicly his status, a single mom who contracted the disease from her ex-husband and a young gay male, he said.

To use the blood safely, the donors were taken to the University of Innsbrook, Austria, where a legal representative oversaw the process of blood extraction and pasteurization, according to Romeyko.

Romeyko said the HIV virus would have died  30 minutes after extraction from the body, but the pasteurization was performed to render the blood more safer still.

But the difficult part was finding a printer, willing to print the HIV positive issue, said Romeyko.

As some people thought the idea to be extremely gross or morbid, “Then we found one great printer who printed the first edition of the Vangardist magazine,” said Romeyko.

The team devised a method of adding blood to the ink and dye powder used to make the magazine, he said. “We printed 3,000, distributed to subscribers and auctioned off for charity and sold for charity,” added Romeyko.

Although additional copies of the issue were printed which did not contain the blood-infused ink.  However, Romeyko said the issue is conceptualized so that people faced with the idea of holding an “issue of HIV” in their hands.




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