Woman sues after her photo appears in HIV ad

Last updated 16:55 20/09/2013
Avril Nolan

Avril Nolan's image was used in ads across New York. But she's not HIV positive.

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The ad says "I am positive (+)" and "I have rights."

It appeared in magazines and newspaper across New York and was aimed at highlighting the fact that "people who are HIV positive are protected by the New York State Human Rights Law".

But the young woman in the picture is not HIV positive and she's suing the photo agency that supplied the photo for almost half a million dollars.

Avril Nolan, 25, says she found out through Facebook and her pilates instructor that she was being used in the New York City-wide ad campaign. 

Nolan's lawsuit against Getty Images says she "became instantly upset and apprehensive that her relatives, potential romantic partners, clients as well as bosses and supervisors might have seen the advertisement.

"Feeling humiliated and embarrassed, [Nolan] was forced to confess to her bosses [at a PR agency] that her image had been used in an advertisement for HIV services, implying that she was infected with HIV, in a newspaper often used by her own clients for advertising and that is distributed to tens of thousands of New Yorkers every day."

According to a report in New York Post, Nolan claims she never gave the photographer "written release or authorisation" to use or sell the photo.

She says Getty, which deals in stock photos, "never requested proof" that she had "executed a legally enforceable and binding written model release".

Her friend, Jena Cumbo, who took the photo, told the Post: "I have been nothing but apologetic about how this happened. I never intended for her picture to be used in this way."

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