This fall, designer and Project Runway alum Jack Mackenroth and celebrity photographer Thomas Evans teamed up to launch HIV Equal, an all-inclusive anti-stigma, awareness-raising photo campaign and HIV testing initiative.
From the campaign's press release:
The HIV Equal photo campaign fights the stigma associated with HIV by illustrating that everyone is equally valuable regardless of HIV status. Participants photographed also take an HIV test with an on-hand health professional as part of a greater effort to help end the fear around HIV testing. The test is confidential and involves a quick mouth swab with results in 20 minutes. In the event that an individual does test positive, the staff is prepared with the necessary counseling and linkage to care.
Individuals are photographed with a unique "HIV=" logo, which strategically appears on their body. As a play on the word "status," a unique caption will read 'STATUS:_______,' and every model picks a word that exemplifies one aspect of their personality. This alludes to the fact that who we are as people is much more important than an HIV status."
The campaign, which has the backing of the World Health Clinicians, has photographed and tested over 300 people -- many of them celebrities, artists, and politicians -- since its launch on October 14. It has a wide and rapidly-growing following on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and has the support of Adam Bouska, founder of the NOH8 Campaign.
The hunky man in the photo above is voice actor, author, and activist (and in the interest of full disclosure, my dear friend) Ben Patrick Johnson, who posed for HIV Equal earlier this month. More photos from the campaign are after the jump.
To learn more about HIV Equal and view more photos, head over to their website.