The cover of the German men’s health magazine Vangardist has taken an unusual step to bring greater awareness to HIV and AIDS by printing the front cover of 3,000 copies of its Spring issue with ink containing HIV-positive blood. The blood was donated by three HIV-positive adults who share their stories in the magazine, from a 26-year-old gay man from Berlin to an anonymous heterosexual man and a 45-year-old mother who was infected 20 years ago by her husband who did not disclose to her his diagnosis.

The magazine has been produced with strict controls and processes adhering to guidelines developed by Harvard University and the University of Innsbruck to ensure that there is no risk of infection to those handling a physical copy of the magazine. Blood samples from the HIV-positive donors were pasteurized to neutralize the virus and make it incapable of transmission; the blood was then mixed with an ink solution for printing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HIV does not survive long outside the human body such as on surfaces. The blood was then mixed with an ink solution for printing. The magazine is available sealed in a clear plastic pouch, with a message stating “break the seal and help break the stigma.”

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