Since its discovery in 1981, AIDS has killed more than 27 million people. The infection rate is continuing to grow, making HIV/AIDS a serious public health issue that affects the entire world, both heterosexuals and homosexuals. Furthermore, studies show that young gay men are more affected by HIV and AIDS than any other group of people.
For my Visual Advocacy project this semester, I chose to focus on the local young gay community in Kansas City. My research showed me that the majority of my audience knows about HIV, how it is contracted, where to get tested and where to find more information about it, but the resources available have become outdated and just aren’t making an impact. Young gay men have the tendency to feel like they are invincible or invulnerable, so my goal was to use a new strategy that would infect them with the fear of HIV. To do this, I created a visual campaign that forces powerful statistics and imagery into the minds of young gay men in situations where they are most vulnerable to bad decision-making. I found support from local bars, organizations, and community members who were interested in helping me spread my message.
I explored several outlets to reach my target audience at critical and effective times, including bathroom posters, car fliers, a typographic projection and several different websites. Although my prototypes proved to be highly successful and brought me an incredible amount of positive feedback from members of the Kansas City gay community, I would like to make an even greater impact. For my Senior Degree Project I would like to continue my efforts to wake up my peers and make them realize that they aren’t invincible to contracting HIV.
I would like to take the work I have done so far to the next level by using technology and my design skills to create a website that serves as an outlet to encourage safe sex. I am very interested in screen-based design, especially motion graphics and interactive website design, so this would be an excellent addition to my portfolio. I believe my HIV awareness campaign has the strength to make a difference on a larger scale, allowing me to help “spread the truth, not the disease.”