Harnessing the power of graphics to fight HIV stigma

The brainchild of Animade creative, Robert Duncan, in collaboration with AIDS charity NAM, we made this film to spread awareness of the U=U message: undetectable = untransmittable.

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The U=U message fights stigma by dispelling the myth that people with HIV on effective treatment can spread the virus to others. We wanted to bring this message to a mass audience on World Aids Day with a refreshed take on the typical infographic film, narrated by writer, actor, activist (and all round good human) Nathaniel J Hall.

Shared on social media by It's A Sin star Olly Alexander and acting legend Mark Gatiss, the film took off online, attracting 14K views in a single Tweet and landing a feature in It's Nice That—all resulting in what we set out to do: to generate engagement with the charity and to raise awareness of this important message.

We used bold, textured typography, chunky silhouettes and cut-out shapes to bring a fact-heavy script to life in a way that engages and inspires, without the distraction—or unconscious bias—of human characters. This necessity gave us the opportunity to explore the potential of a new aesthetic, and the power it could harness.

NAM executive director Matthew Hodson, whose expert input helped us ensure we got all our facts right, said the film serves as “a rallying call, that all people, no matter where they are born or how much they earn, should have access to treatment”.

This is the kind of work that helps change attitudes to make a difference to the lives of people with HIV.

Matthew Hodson, Executive Director, NAM aidsmap

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