Artist creates portrait of Princess Diana using HIV-positive blood
An award-winning artist has made a portrait of Princess Diana with a mixture of HIV-positive blood and diamond dust.
Manchester-based Conor Collins revealed his latest creation on Twitter on Tuesday (July 17).
“When Princess Diana held the hand of a man dying of AIDS, few would have imagined that today treatment would exist that would see HIV-positive people living full, healthy, loving lives. When diagnosed and treated early, life-expectancy for someone with HIV is unchanged,” he wrote.
“We all deserve to be loved. We all deserve to be treated with dignity.
“HIV is a virus. It has no conscience. It is without colour, without creed, without gender or sexuality. It is incapable of judgement.”
Collins added: “We should know the facts. You can’t get HIV from kissing. Undetectable means untransmittable. PREP and PEP work.”
In recent years, he has also made portraits of Tom Daley – made using homophobic tweets sent to the diver – and Caitlyn Jenner, both of which went viral.
Speaking to PinkNews about his latest artwork, Collins said: “As a HIV-negative person I have spent much of my time utterly blinkered to the stigma HIV people are put through every day.
“However, over time, more and more of my friends have spoken to me about their HIV diagnosis and what they have experienced. They have spoken to me about their treatment at work, how men would refused to date them, how people in all different environments treated them entirely differently in so many ways simply because of their status.
The HIV epidemic is fuelled by this stigma, shame and ignorance. Science can treat the disease, but it is love, compassion, respect and understanding that will finally stop the epidemic. pic.twitter.com/AHHErvQSsm
— Conor Collins (@conartworks) July 17, 2018
“Many of my friends in their first year of diagnosis have felt as though their future they had hoped and worked for had been stripped away in an instant.”
Collins, who said the HIV-positive blood was donated by volunteers, said he has been “appalled” by how his HIV-positive friends have been treated and “also appalled at how I myself had been so blind to this happening all around me.”
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He said this discrimination is “everywhere,” including on dating apps like Grindr and on visas.
“It’s cruel and cold, and only serves to build more stigma and shame, and this only serves to build an environment where HIV infections are more likely. I was also aware of my own ignorance,” he added.
“There was so much I assumed about HIV and its treatment and was wrong. It’s time we educated ourselves, and it’s time we stopped shaming people because of their status.”