Information truly is the cure for ignorance. That's why each one of these posters comes with a single drop of dried blood.
Don't have time to watch the full video? Here's a little recap:
They're not just living with HIV. They're also living with the stigma of HIV.
According to the World Health Organization, at the end of 2013 close to 35 million people were living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. Thankfully, numerous medical advancements now allow people with the virus to continue living normal, happy lives. But there are still tons of people who are confused about how the virus is transmitted. And for HIV-positive folks like Micaela, that can lead to some pretty painful encounters.
A powerful ad campaign is changing how people think about HIV by putting the virus right in front of them.
In the golden age of social media, some might consider a poster campaign outdated. But these posters, designed by Ogilvy Brazil for the NGO Life Support Group (GIV), have something a little different. Each one comes with a tiny drop of blood.
"My measurements are 40 by 60 centimeters. I was printed on high brightness paper. And my weight is 250 grams. I'm just like any other poster. Except for one thing: I'm HIV positive. It's exactly what you've just read. I'm living with the virus. At this point you may be taking a step back, wondering if I offer any danger." — The HIV-Positive Poster
But the beauty of this project is that it taps into the discomfort the reader might be feeling at the prospect of even looking at a piece of paper carrying HIV. Dr. Artur Kalichman, the coordinator for the São Paulo AIDS Program, not only shoots down those fears but proves why this campaign is so important.
"The poster is completely harmless. The blood has already dried. The HIV can't survive long outside the human body. Because of the treatment, the blood of the volunteers can't infect anyone. Besides ... HIV is not transmitted by poster." — Dr. Artur Kalichman
Once the posters hit the streets of São Paulo, the impact was felt almost immediately.
As people interacted with the posters throughout the city, something wonderful began to happen. People reached out and touched the poster, going straight for the drop of dried blood. One man even kissed the poster, sharing, "I felt love for this person I don't even know." But by far the most powerful moment is seeing how people respond when given the chance to meet the HIV-positive people behind each drop of blood.
And, look, I know it's cliche to say this moment had me in tears, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't.
The HIV-positive poster is forcing people to confront their prejudice for real.
The above video ends with one simple but important quote: "If prejudice is an illness, information is the cure." Thankfully, innovative campaigns from organizations like GIV and Ogilvy Brazil are providing just that. While researchers continue to search for a cure, it's up to us to educate ourselves and each other to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and offer proper support to those living with the illness. For more ways to keep yourself safe and informed, check out WebMD's Top 10 Myths and Misconceptions About HIV/AIDs.