Project Description

This is a fictional concept for an anti-HIV stigma campaign that could be executed across any major city’s public transit system.

Client: Self-initiated

Goals: Create an interactive campaign that impacts how riders perceive fellow riders who are living with HIV/AIDS.

Challenges: The core strategy of this campaign is to have it be interactive and span several aspects of the transit system. Given the platform, it was essential that an impact could be made from a very brief interaction. While interacting with all elements makes for the most lasting impression, each element alone can invoke some level of awareness.


This campaign was originally created as a small-scale project. I have since spent additional time creating into a larger-scale project and tweaked some of the details so that it could realistically be executed across a range of locations within a public transit system.

The campaign starts prior to entering the subway, where a few facts are displayed.

The number of people in New York City who are living with HIV is placed by the number of people who commute through the subway system. Exact math isn’t required to understand that there is a chance you are regularly passing someone who is living with HIV.

The turnstile is covered with the simple statement “It’s OK to touch me.”

The turnstile is the one thing you cannot avoid touching while riding the subway. Upon reading that statement you will either believe it’s truly ok to touch it, become suspicious, or ignore it altogether.

The concept behind this campaign centers around the idea that stigma is most often a result of people being ill-informed.

Many people who face discrimination due to their HIV status would face no such issues should their status not be disclosed. Everyone can relate to struggles with family or relationships, regardless of the reasons.

By drawing attention to very basic human struggles, it becomes easier to relate to someone afflicted with something many people do not understand well. When someone is seen for who they are as a human, it is far easier to empathize than when they are seen as a diagnosis that many people associate with a great deal of fear.

The entire campaign uses black and white imagery to represent the way living with something you can’t reveal can make you feel as though your true identity is invisible to the world.

Red has long been the color used in HIV/AIDS campaigns, and is therefore the only color used as a spot color.