GSK's ViiV adds a new, unexpected demographic to Dovato campaign

Ann Edwards looks exactly like what she is—a loving wife, mother and grandmother—a retired school administrator living in Connecticut. She is also an HIV patient taking GSK ViiV’s Dovato.

If this 75-year-old, straight, white woman doesn’t seem like your typical HIV patient, that’s the point. While she may not be the norm in disease awareness campaigns, she is by no means the only one. It is for that reason Ann chose to contact ViiV and offer to be a part of the brand’s marketing.

“I felt that my group was not represented in the Dovato commercials at all—white, straight, American, middle-aged, no, not middle-aged—old women,” Edwards said. “There’s a group of us that have the virus, and it's nice to see yourself, there's a comfort in that, and there's learning in that. Also, to get the message across this can happen to anyone, and this is how you live your life and this is what you do.”

Edwards makes her debut in Dovato’s new “Detect This” campaign that includes print, national and local TV and online digital advertisements. Along with Edwards, there are two other real patients: Jovon an African American man, and Armando, a Latinx male, keeping with the message of diversity and that HIV can affect anyone.

The videos show the three subjects as whole people and not just HIV patients. They are all living healthy, full lives with bright futures. Ann revels in her retirement; spending time at art galleries and occasionally enjoying meals out with her husband, who is her high school sweetheart. All the spots emphasize the convenience of the one pill with two meds Dovato provides.

Edwards is aware that by being in these ads she is telegraphing her HIV+ status nationwide (as are all the participants in the ads) and she is fine with it, but of course that wasn’t always the case; now that she’s retired, she has more freedom. Back when she was working in the schools, it was recommended that she keep her status a secret. These days she feels it’s her duty to let people know not just that anyone can get it, but that there are good options for managing the disease.

She was diagnosed during a routine health insurance checkup and has deduced that she must have had HIV for at least 10 years prior to that point.

“I feel that I would eventually get sick and this would have been probably the last thing they would have tested for. So I consider myself very lucky. I’m also very lucky to have found Dovato, it’s just one pill, two medications and no side effects—for me, there are no side effects. That's great!”

The FDA greenlighted ViiV’s Dovato in 2019, and it's a future blockbuster for the company.