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Amatuer Model Sues Over Image Being Used In HIV Ad

A New York woman who posed for an online amateur fashion feature for a photographer friend was surprised to find herself as the New York State Division of Human Rights' new HIV+ poster child. 

Avril Nolan, a 25-year old resident of Brooklyn, is HIV negative, though anyone who came across the new ad might think otherwise. "I am positive (+)," the message above Avril's head reads. "I have rights." 

The New York Daily News has more:

Nolan, who is originally from Ireland and works in public relations, charges that the ad forced her to have awkward conversations with her employer, friends and “potential romantic partners,” according to her suit against Getty, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court. It seeks $450,000 in damages. “She was mortified,” said Nolan’s lawyer, Erin Lloyd. “It has caused a lot of anxiety.”

Getty did not respond to a request for comment. Lloyd said she will pursue claims against the Division of Human Rights for defamation and violation of Nolan’s civil rights. The agency also did not respond to a request for comment.

The photographer who took the picture said it ended up in the ad through a series of unfortunate mistakes. “A lot of people dropped the ball,” said Jena Cumbo. “I made a mistake. I didn’t understand my contract (with Getty).”

Lloyd said that Cumbo and Nolan are acquaintances who had shot the photo as part of an online fashion feature two years ago. Nolan never signed a release authorizing Cumbo to sell her likeness to a third party, Lloyd said.