The lifestyle German magazine Vangardist printed the issue to coincide with the famous Life Ball in Vienna that raises money for HIV/AIDS issues, according to Jason Romeyko, creative director of Saatchi and Saatchi, who worked with the team at Vangardist to develop the idea.
Romeyko said the goal was to confront the readers' stigma about the disease and to get people to talk about it again, adding that people rarely seem to talk about it anymore -- except perhaps on World AIDS Day.
"People feel that the problem is solved and feel nothing is happening," Romeyko told ABC News.
To create the "HIV+" issue, the editorial team used the blood of three HIV-positive volunteers, Romeyko said, adding that the goal was to find people who represented a range of HIV-positive people. The donors included a single mother who contracted the disease from her husband, a young gay man and an older straight man who has not revealed his status publicly, he said.
"This isn’t just a gay disease or just sits in Africa," Romeyko said of HIV/AIDS.
To safely use the blood, all three donors were taken to the University of Innsbrook in Austria, where a legal representative oversaw the blood being drawn and the pasteurization of the blood, according to Romeyko.
Romeyko said the virus would have died in the blood 30 minutes after being removed from the body, but the pasteurization was used to render the blood even safer.
Finding a printer who would be willing to print the HIV positive issue was extremely difficult, said Romeyko.
"Some people thought it was really gross," or morbid, said Romeyko. "Then we found one great printer who printed the first edition" of the Vangardist magazine.
To use blood in the printer, the team had to devise a method to add blood to the ink and dye powder used to make the magazine, he said.
"We printed 3,000 -- distributed to subscribers and auctioned off for charity and sold for charity," said Romeyko.
Additional copies of the issue were printed that did not contain the blood-infused ink, he added.
Nevertheless, Romeyko said the issue is designed so people are confronted with the idea of holding the "issue of HIV" in their hands.
"We have transformed the medium itself," said Romeyko. "If you take the issue in your hands ... the HIV issues" are there in a concrete form.