Image and quote from Queerty: Underwear Models and Former Child Stars Post for HIV Awareness Campaign
The time for ending any lingering stigma attached to HIV/AIDS and HIV testing is now, and HIV Equal, a social media anti-stigma campaign, is taking unique, fashionable steps to achieve this goal.
Many fabulous faces have been filing into the L.A. studio over the last couple of days. After photographing celebs such as Broadway stars Nick Adams and Billy Porter and professional boy toy Nick Gruber earlier this fall, the HIV Equal team was particularly excited to be supported by NOH8 founder Adam Bouska (right), who has effectively illustrated what a social media campaign like this can do to change public opinion. Child star-turned-go go dancer-turned singer Blake McIver and model/activist duo (and Queerty faves) Colby Melvin and Brandon Brown clearly appeal to the younger generation that HIV Equal needs to reach.
I applaud the effort, but where are the actual HIV+ men and women in this campaign? It is easy to say your status is anything other than positive: activist, strong, artistic, accepting, forgiveness. That just puts a pretty face and concept onto HIV while hiding its true face...which is the face of everyone, but doesn't seem to be a face or image presented here. But still...
And "forgiveness"? Who exactly needs forgiveness? The HIV+ person? The stigmatizing ass? Who?
I think what would really work would be artful NOH8-esque photographs of actual HIV+ people...though this campaign seems to be suggesting that most HIV- people still aren't ready to see them.