Janie Vinson

Janie Vinson

Janie Vinson, Senior Designer

Bridge HIV CRS, San Francisco, CA, USA 

Janie Vinson studied graphic design at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She has a BA in Peace Studies: Human Relations from the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies at the University of Redlands, and did graduate work at the European Peace University in Austria, Denmark, and Spain. She was a Guest Suite Artist at Risley Residential College for the Creative and Performing Arts at Cornell University.

I followed the HIV epidemic very closely as a high school student in the late 1980s, however I came to HIV work quite by accident. Returning from graduate studies in Europe, I accepted a position at the NAMES Project Foundation/AIDS Memorial Quilt managing their national chapters. When the AIDS Quilt moved from its longtime home in San Francisco to Atlanta, I moved to a position at Bridge HIV and started just a few days after the events of 9/11 in 2001. My work in HIV now spans two decades and I'm thankful to have been able to forge my education with design to really help people. Many years ago, a participant revealed that he saw a recruitment campaign I designed in a BART transit station back in 2011. The tagline, "What will it take to find an HIV Vaccine? People like you." affected him so much he was moved to call us and he thanked me. I then thanked him for volunteering for a study and we laughed at all our mutual hand shaking and hugs. These are the moments that make me glad to have "accidentally" stumbled into HIV work.

When I started my tenure at Bridge HIV we had recently joined the new HVTN network and were full swing into working on an HIV vaccine study called AIDSVAX! Today, we have a proven intervention that prevents HIV infection (PrEP) and are on the road to discovering more. Being involved with the HVTN these last two decades has been an invigorating and humbling experience. I have witnessed so many growth moments that others may see as failures; reveled in the hard-fought successes that moved us forward; and have had personal connections to some of the thousands of study participants who are the heart and soul of this movement towards eradicating HIV. I couldn’t be prouder to work with the HVTN.