Check out this exclusive sneak peek at some of the fresh new faces of the HIV Equal campaign, an all-inclusive anti-stigma and HIV testing initiative from World Health Clinicians.
HIV affects everyone. However after the most recent shoot in Los Angeles--the city of beautiful people--there was an abundance of uber sexy men supporting the campaign. Though the set may be light on ladies and politicians, we think you'll enjoy these photos of some of the hunky and brave participants!
From the HIV Equal:
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.
According to the latest statistical data reported by the County of Los Angeles in its 2012 Annual HIV Surveillance Report, there were more than 2,000 new diagnoses of HIV infection in 2010, with a total of 45,474 persons currently living with HIV by December 31, 2012. Men accounted for 1,816 (88%) of such cases, and the age demographic that saw the highest number of infections (60%) was between the ages of 20-39.
Recently added to its list of supporters is Todrick Hall, Ben Patrick Johnson, Greg Louganis, Mario Diaz, Amy Paffrath and husband Drew Seeley, Selene Luna, The Friend Movement's Ronnie Kroell, Tony Tripoli, Kristin Banta, Jackie Beat, West Hollywood Mayor John Duran and dozens of other amazing individuals.
HIV Equal co-founders Jack Mackenroth and celebrity photographer Thomas Evans are particularly excited to be supported by NOH8 co-founder Adam Bouska, who has effectively illustrated what a social media campaign like this can do to change public opinion.
"We are launching HIV Equal with photos of amazing artists and celebrities but the goal is just to garner national attention so we can take this mobile testing initiative around the country and test people from all walks of life who want to get involved, get tested and help fight the stigma," says WHC Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Gary Blick. "We are very aware that HIV affects everyone - and disproportionately affects communities that include people of color. We truly appreciate everyone's participation, but we would LOVE more men and women of color to join the campaign."