The window of an underwear store is an unlikely place for a political statement, but ES Collection in West Hollywood is no stranger to controversy.
You may remember a few months ago, when the shop (also called L.A. Jock) featured a mannequin in a concentration camp outfit to protest Russian human rights abuses. Now, they have a mannequin living with HIV. He’s dressed in a hospital gown and hooked up to an oxygen tank and IV. Good lord.
It’s certainly an arresting image, and one that is terribly familiar to gays of a certain age. Store owner Nir Zilberman is planning a rally this Saturday, April 12, at 9 p.m. to honor the deceased and support those living with HIV/AIDS. There will be speeches and performances and a candle light vigil starting at 10.
“World AIDS Day is everyday,” reads a sign in the window. Officially, World AIDS Day is December 1, but the disease is far from gone. In 2010, men who have sex with men accounted for 63% of estimated new HIV infections in the United States, and 78% of infections among all newly infected men. That’s mind-boggling.
Play safe, everyone. And for heaven’s sake get tested early and often.