GSK's ViiV launches first campaign for new HIV med Dovato with real patient ambassadors

Patient ambassador LáDeia stars in GlaxoSmithKline joint venture ViiV Healthcare's first campaign for HIV med Dovato, talking about her life and passions and being more than a diagnosis. (ViiV Healthcare)

GlaxoSmithKline’s ViiV Healthcare launched its first campaign for new two-in-one HIV pill Dovato with real patients who want to be seen for who they are, not just their diagnosis.

The “Everything That I Am” campaign includes a TV ad with patient LáDeia who talks about her career, charity work and new home. “So much goes into who I am,” she says—and HIV medication is just one part.

The brand's three other ambassadors—Alphonso, Kalvin and Leo—tell their stories online along with LáDeia on the Dovato website. Along with TV, print and digital promotions, the ambassadors are embarking on a national speaking tour with stops at local patient and HIV service organizations.

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To represent each person, ViiV curated custom collage portraits made up of different keepsakes, photographs and personal items. An introductory video shows the four seeing their portraits for the first time and talking about the images. The upshot? HIV does not define them, they say.

RELATED: GSK's ViiV heads to New York with off-Broadway show about black gay men with HIV

“The diagnosis doesn’t define you; the essence of who you are defines you. And you should project that so people can see it,” LáDeia says.

A ViiV spokeswoman said that while that sentiment is not necessarily new among people living with HIV, disease management has changed as next-gen treatments allow people to live longer and healthier lives with HIV.

“There is much more emphasis on being that healthy, active person who just happens to have HIV,” the spokeswoman said.

The TV ad first aired in late August in 15 local markets selected because they have a higher prevalence of new HIV diagnoses or larger populations of people living with HIV. The ad debuted nationally during the Emmy awards show on Sept. 22.

RELATED: Can new Dovato data jump-start uptake of 2-drug HIV regimen? ViiV hopes so

Among the early feedback ViiV has received are positive remarks about featuring a black woman in HIV advertising, the spokeswoman said.

“People find LáDeia so inspiring, and they appreciate a woman of color being represented in a national TV ad,” she said.

The FDA approved Dovato in April. It is the first two-drug regimen cleared for new and untreated HIV patients and is composed of Tivicay (dolutegravir) and Epivir (lamivudine). ViiV’s chief competition is Gilead Sciences’ three-drug regimen Biktarvy as it looks to change the HIV treatment paradigm from three-drug cocktails to two drugs.

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