Founded in 1988, Visual AIDS has been the only arts organization committed to raising AIDS awareness and fighting stigma for more than three decades. Their aim is to promote dialogue, support HIV-positive artists by producing and presenting visual art projects, exhibitions, public forums, and publications. Their work preserves and honors the work of HIV-positive artists and other artistic contributions spurred by the epidemic as it preserves the legacy of the epidemic, because as Visual AIDS reminds us, “AIDS is not over.”

To support their efforts, Visual AIDS has worked with artists to create posters, buttons, broadsides, safe sex kits, and tote bags, such as the new tote featured this year.

Tell Me More: This tote, designed by Chicago-based artist Charles Ryan Long, a multi-disciplinary artist, activist and Black liberationist. The 14”x15”x3” tote is made of black canvas with a 22-inch red cotton strap, with the words “Only our love and rage can end this,” in red, encircled by red plus signs. The repetition is, again, a reminder that AIDS is not over.

How Much: The tote is a very reasonable $20, plus postage and taxes.

How to Order: To order the Charles Ryan Tote, or any of the other totes, t-shirts, prints, broadsheets, or publications, please go to https://visual-aids.mybigcommerce.com/shop/.

Who Benefits: Your purchases will enable Visual AIDS to continue its work supporting HIV-positive artists and those artists whose work responds to the epidemic. Artwork can spark the kinds of conversations that will defeat the stigma of HIV/AIDS.

—Reporting by Hank Trout


Hank Trout, Senior Editor, edited Drummer, Malebox, and Folsom magazines in the early 1980s. A long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS (diagnosed in 1989), he is a forty-year resident of San Francisco, where he lives with his husband Rick. Follow him on Twitter @HankTroutWriter.