The HIV Kama Sutra and the balancing act of morality
by Philipp Spiegel
The digitalization of sexuality is moving at a rapid pace. Laden with topics such as self-presentation, ego and image-reception, an emotional aspect is often overlooked – as well as the threats of half-knowledge about STDs and their transmission.
How does one get HIV? What is safe or unsafe behavior?
Even as someone with HIV, I sometimes struggle to find the exact forms of infectious behavior. There seems to be a prevalent “half-knowledge” of what is seen as risky, and of what is seen as safe sex. People tend to have a bit of an idea, but nobody really knows the details or exact ways of transmission.
As for the “Detection Limit” (the result of medication making HIV positive people non-infectious) is a term that is generally overlooked or often unheard of, manifesting stigmas and preconceptions from the 80ies.
The HIV Kama Sutra is a photography project that examines these phenomena, and aims to clarify these issues. Using explicit imagery, along with written clarifications, photographs of sexual behavior on hetero-, homo- and bisexual topics challenges the viewers ideas of what is regarded as safe and unsafe, while simultaneously explaining and clarifying the risks. Taking special note of the “undetectable” status.
A further aspect of the Kama Sutra, derived from ancient Hindu Texts describing sexual behavior and communications – Kama meaning Desire, Sutra the “thread keeping everything together” – is the interpersonal communication between people. Sexuality is becoming digitalized in forms of social media, online dating and even sex-robotics. The interpersonal dialogue and lack thereof is producing more conflict between the sexes – being the #metoo or the #incel movement.
This project is currently in the making.