Animade’s infographic film explains a vital fact about HIV treatment, on World Aids Day

Created with charity NAM aidsmap, the animation is an aesthetic departure for the studio, employing bold cutout shapes and type to enliven a fact-heavy script.

1 December 2020


Animade has worked with charity NAM aidsmap on a short animated film for World Aids Day. The film focuses on an important message about HIV/Aids, at a time when everyone can relate to the fear of a pandemic. Its titled U=U stands for Undetectable = Untransmittable, and explains how people with HIV on effective treatment cannot pass the virus on. Visually, the film is a departure for Animade, known for its playful, character-based work, but in this case a more graphical approach was needed to support the vital content.

Narrated by comedian, actor and activist Nathaniel J Hall, the fact-heavy yet digestible script is bolstered by bold, cutout, textural shapes and retro, friendly type – part of a creative approach led by Animade’s Robert Duncan. The concept aims to take the viewer through a symbolic journey, Animade says, and pushed the studio in a new direction. “[It] gave us the opportunity to explore new aesthetics within an infographic environment,” comments Michael Davies, the studio’s creative director. NAM aidsmap assisted with the scientific content and factual accuracy.

In the film, we hear how HIV became a treatable disease in 1996, 15 years into the global pandemic, by which time 19 million people had been affected. It’s been 39 years since the first cases of Aids and yet fear and misinformation still holds back progress in attitudes, so this campaign film aims to “fight stigma with knowledge”.

“U=U means that pretty much all the fear that HIV-negative people have of those of us living with HIV is just wasted energy,” says Matthew Hodson, executive director of NAM aidsmap. “Tackling stigma encourages people to test and supports those who are living with HIV to start medication, which will not only preserve lives but prevent new infections.” He adds that the film serves as “a rallying call, that all people, no matter where they are born or how much they earn, should have access to treatment”.

GalleryAnimade and NAM aidsmap: U=U (Copyright © Animade and NAM aidsmap, 2020)

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Animade and NAM aidsmap: U=U (Copyright © Animade and NAM aidsmap, 2020)

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Jenny Brewer

Jenny oversees our editorial output across work, news and features. She was previously It’s Nice That's news editor. Get in touch with any big creative stories, tips, pitches, news and opinions, or questions about all things editorial.

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