GSK's ViiV dispels tired tropes about living with HIV with new Shutterstock series

ViiV and Shutterstock are partnering to show people living with HIV in their everyday lives as a way to help banish stereotypes. (ViiV)

GlaxoSmithKline's ViiV Healthcare wants people to know that living with HIV is just that: living—with HIV. A partnership with Shutterstock offers new images of people enjoying their lives, purposefully moving away from outdated stereotypes of what it means to be HIV-positive.

The new gallery "HIV in View,” launched on World AIDS Day, features healthy-looking HIV-positive people happily going about their daily lives. The photos are free to download from Shutterstock for use in projects involving people living with HIV. A video on the Shutterstock website goes behind the scenes of the project, featuring the photo subjects talking about public attitudes and mistaken perceptions.

ViiV spoke to people living with HIV, both inside the company and in the larger community, to make sure the photographs would accurately depict real life. One of the main goals of the project is to show authentic images of people going about their daily routines and emphasize that people who are living with HIV are part of our society, not just living beside it.

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“The campaign needed to be authentic. We didn’t want glossy polished images … people skipping down beaches, jumping out of airplanes or swinging golf clubs," Stephen Rea, ViiV’s head of external affairs and communications, said. "We really wanted this to be a depiction of what real life was like for them in all of its glory and challenges."

The photos currently feature people from the U.K., Kenya, Uruguay and Portugal, which not only yielded a diverse group of faces but also spotlighted areas where HIV is prevalent. ViiV plans to expand the effort to Asian countries and the U.S. in early 2021.

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ViiV markets HIV treatments including Dovato, Juluca and Triumeq. Its efforts also include HIV prevention: Most recently, the company reported positive PrEP data for its twice-monthly injectable med cabotegravir. The company plans to file for an FDA approval for the drug in the first half of 2021.