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For the Spring Edition, VANGARDIST Magazine went into print again and mixed its printing ink with the sterilized blood of three HIV-positive donors to fight the stigma of HIV and AIDS. While that edition is limited to 3,000 copies, an additional 15,000 copies have been printed without any blood.
Why are we doing this?
After 30 years of campaigning, the stigma of HIV still remains. People living with the virus still hesitate to come out as HIV positive as they fear losing their jobs or being rejected by their loved ones. And indeed there are still many people who would not shake the hand of an HIV-positive person or drink from the same coffee cup. So maybe people with HIV have good reasons why they hide. But we believe in the power of publishing to make a change.
The Idea behind
Our idea for this edition was to print a magazine with ink infused with the blood of HIV-positive people. Confronting yourself with this issue (in both senses of the word), you realize that touching the magazine can't harm you, just as touching anyone with HIV can't harm you either. We hope this experience will, in the future, change your behavior when you meet a person with HIV.
How we did it?
We took the blood from three HIV-positive donors: Wiltrud, a mother; Wyndham, a homosexual man; and Philipp, a heterosexual man who prefered to stay anonymous and use a pseudonym. The blood was sterilized at the Laboratory of the Medical University of Innsbruck (Austria) and then tested again for all types of other viruses. After being 100 per cent sure that there was no risk, we mixed this blood into the printing press ink used for the 3,000-copy limited edition.
The modern Hero is an individual like you and me who takes action that requires bravery. By confronting the public with its fear of HIV, anybody has the possibility to overcome fear and become a Hero. And we believe everybody has a Hero inside them. So let’s be brave and take the issue into our own hands.
"I'm doing this because positive can be positive, and talking about HIV is the only way we can get more people to share that vision."
Born in Stockton, California, Wyndham relocated to New York before leaving the Big Apple for freakin ́ Berlin, where he’s been living and working the past four years. He got his diagnosis in October 2012; about a year later he “came out” as HIV-positive with #CHANGETHEFACE, sharing his story to start conversations, change opinions, increase awareness and affect positive change in people. He is 26 years old.
“At the beginning it was always difficult telling people about it, because the reactions you see in their faces is usually blank horror."
Philipp Spiegel is an alias. The person behind it prefers to stay anonymous. He is the author of the article ”When Do I Tell Her?” which you can find in this very issue.
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“Well, I met my husband, my ex-husband, in 1986 when I was 16 years old and got married 1990 and in 1996, they told me he was HIV positive. He had known for over 10 years."
Wiltrut has been living with her HIV-positive status for over twenty years. After being diagnosed, she decided to openly deal with her condition and, as a result, founded the special interest group PULSHIV (www.pulshiv.at). She lives and works in Vienna and has a 24-year-old son.