GSK renews HIV community podcast for 2nd season, takes deeper dive on issues

"The Barbershop" is one of the themes in GSK’s ViiV Healthcare's second series of the award-winning podcast, "Being Seen." (Photo by: Antonio Johnson)

GSK’s ViiV Healthcare HIV-focused podcast is back by popular demand for a second season.

"Being Seen" delves even deeper into topics that matter to the HIV, Black, gay and queer community, which is disproportionately affected by HIV, in the second season of the now Clio-award winning podcast. The new series is again hosted and co-produced by award-winning writer and activist Darnell Moore and agency Harley & Co.

The podcast, which reached second place on Apple’s new and noteworthy list, addresses the inequities of HIV for the Black community.

While treatments are available to control the epidemic—from medicines that essentially stop transmission to drugs for prevention—there is more to the show than discussions on drugs, Marc Meachem, ViiV’s head of external affairs for North America, said.

“We've got the science down, but in order to address it and to disrupt the disparities, we've got to deal with the human element, and we've got to reach people in a different way,” he said.

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The new season of 11 episodes launched this month and once again highlights important voices in the community, this time taking on topics including fatherhood, mental heath and sports. The just-released second episode discusses mentorship and features writer, actor and producer Lena Waithe as co-host.

In addition to social media publicity, word of mouth is the key driver in the show's popularity, Meachem said. He's noticed that many of the people who took part in the first series are now promoting the second one through their social networks.

“I think this is beyond entertainment, this is a real dialogue," he said. 

Meachem added, “If there's one message I want to get out to people is that 30 years from now, we don't have to talk about how we still haven't ended the epidemic for people of color. We can do this. It does require a whole society approach and that does involve us, it does involve experts and those who have power in society to engage with the people who are facing the issues, and to listen to them and then to involve them in our own solutions.”

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ViiV’s portfolio of HIV meds continues to grow. In January, the FDA approved Cabenuva, the first long-acting, injectable HIV regimen for patients who are already virologically suppressed. Instead of a daily pill, like most antiretroviral medications, Cabenuva is injected once a month. ViiV’s other meds include two-drug regimens Dovato and Juluca.