The heart shaped tag, the "heartbreaker", is a sign of solidarity. In
following the association of the dog tag used in the military the
bearer communicates a fighting attitude towards a world wide epidemic
that will kill at least 60 million people within the next 15 years.
The symbols of love and fight serve as signals against forgetting,
suppressing and excluding.
Through the dual association of the love/dog tag the bearer could
also be described as a warrior of love. The lower half of the
"heartbreaker" is broken off ("to break one's heart","to be
heartbroken"), once he has died of the consequences of HIV. AIDS is
heartbreaking. The society's exclusion is anticipated by bearing the
heartbreaker and can be seen as self-stigmatisation, especially by
The nakedness of the persons on the posters serves as the uniform of
equality. Equality between men and women, hetero- and homosexuals,
infected and non-infected, as this disease concerns all genders and
sexuals affections. The most common way of contracting the virus is
through unprotected sexual intercourse. The nakedness refers to
sexuality. The naked protagonists on the posters, who wear nothing
but the "heartbreaker", remind us, that HIV, AIDS and sexual
intercourse are inseparably linked. Of course it is provoking. But
that is exactly what it aims at. The questions that it brings up,
the recoiling that it arouses, the reluctance that occurs at its
sight and the aggression that it triggers off in many people.
Each of these contacts leaves traces, brings up questions and
penetrates the consciousness. It is about creating a platform on
which AIDS is discussed and not suppressed.
Of course the heartbreaker can only be worn by courageous people who
are able and willing to challenge the gaping, the questions and the
The stigmatisation of the HIV-positives and those suffering from AIDS
in our society could be done away with, maybe even lead astray, if
the heartbreaker is worn by mainly non-infected persons. It is all
about showing solidarity and awareness.
We know that it takes a lot of courage to wear the heartbreaker but
we are confident that the people will contribute to creating a better
way of dealing with the issue of HIV and AIDS.