Everybody has an HIV status.
HIV Equal is a brand new national multimedia campaign that fights the stigma and promotes HIV testing with the help of various media personalities. Created by Project Runway Alum Jack Mackenroth and celebrity photographer Thomas Evans, the campaign creates "social art," which has taken over social media outlets with hopes to reignite the national dialog about HIV. The campaign series features leaders among various industries, including media stars, politicians, and entertainers who are stepping out as advocates, all shot in front of the signature pink glow, which will soon be nationally recognizable.
Each participant of the campaign is photographed with the unique hot pink "HIV=" logo painted somewhere on their body. As a play on words, each photo contains the caption "STATUS:______," allowing every model to fill in the blank with a word that exemplifies an aspect of their personality. Tony Award winner Billy Porter, who won the Best Featured Actor statue for his role in Kinky Boots, chose the word "authentic." While recent RuPaul's Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio identified as "natural," a sarcastic response to her quintessential clown makeup. The general goal is to change the stigma around the word "status," — that word many people now associate with social media, not health — because who we are as people is much more important than an HIV status.
Almost eight months since its conception by World Health Clinicians, the testing and photo campaign is gearing up to host its biggest event yet on Saturday, May 31 at New York's BarTini Ultra Lounge, with various stars and advocates including Sandra Berhard, Chi Chi La Rue, and Scott Patric of Project Runway. To find out more about the campaign or how to get involved, visit HIVequal.org.
Bianca Del Rio
DJ Donna D'Cruz
Congressman Jim Himes