Designer and Project Runway alum Jack Mackenroth, in conjunction with World Health Clinicians and photographer Thomas Evans, is launching a multimedia campaign titled "HIV Equal" to reduce the stigma around HIV/AIDS and encourage testing. The campaign will encourage participants to take an "HIV Equal" photo while also getting tested.
Photos will include an "HIV=" logo and a caption that reads "STATUS:______" with each participant picking a word that represents them and that is more important than their HIV/AIDS status. Testing will be confidential and conducted by health professionals, with staff prepared to provide counseling and care if a participant tests positive.
"Our goal is to photograph people from all walks of life who support ending HIV stigma, regardless of their personal HIV status. We launched the campaign with celebrities, politicians, artists and many recognizable faces in order to draw attention to our mission, but we plan to include everyone since HIV affects us all," said Mackenroth, who has been living with HIV for 24 years. "HIV Equal goes a step further to include testing so that everyone photographed knows their status. We need to take care of ourselves and each other, as well as to reignite the global conversation about HIV to stop the spread of misinformation, fear and judgment."
Participants will be encouraged to share photos through social media. Confirmed participants include Broadway star Nick Adams, Congressman Jim Himes, HIV/AIDS and LGBT activist Peter Staley, Tony Award-winning actor Billy Porter, and drag comedian Bianca Del Rio. "HIV Equal" will soon be travelling to cities across the country. Find out more here.