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Science on the Sofa: Preventing HIV in Black Women

Entered in Pharma & Healthcare, Single Post or Activation


Science on the Sofa is a video series that translates the complex science of HIV into digestible information accessible to people who aren’t scientists. The series supports ViiV Healthcare’s mission to end the HIV epidemic by focusing on open conversations with communities impacted by and involved in HIV science.

In this episode, we set out to explore the science of stigma and its impact on Black women, who are disproportionately impacted by HIV. For context, despite making up less than 15% of the female population, Black women comprise 55% of new HIV diagnoses among cisgender women and 46% among transwomen.

Stigma affects mental, physical and emotional health, and also prevents people from seeking care and getting treatment. Open conversations about sexual health can be challenging but are paramount to preventing HIV.

Our objective was to engage new and existing audiences with content highlighting the health impact of stigma to help break down barriers and change perceptions of the need for PrEP.

Centering first-hand experiences of Black women in this content, we sought to challenge the status quo and foster an empowering dialogue that conveys the urgent need to eradicate stigma to prevent HIV.

As the only pharmaceutical company 100% focused on HIV and AIDS, ViiV Healthcare believes that conversations that authentically connect science and patient needs can help expedite the end of the HIV epidemic by keeping the nuanced needs of the community central in the development of new medicines.


Utilizing ViiV’s ongoing "Science on the Sofa" video series as a platform, we explored the science of stigma surrounding HIV and Black women – particularly in the prevention of HIV. 

“Science on the Sofa: Preventing HIV in Black Women” delved into how stigmatizing language, inequitable systems and societal prejudice have a profound impact on health outcomes for Black women – underscoring the scientific importance of community-centered and patient-informed programming. The seven-minute-long episode and accompanying social video series featured a raw and candid conversation about the unique experiences of both cis and trans Black women.

Marvelous Muchenje, Community Relations Manager at ViiV Healthcare, brought her skills in communication, education and facilitation and her rich understanding of the experiences of people living with HIV as host of the episode. She was joined by Leisha McKinley-Beach, Tori Cooper and Beverly Ross, three members of ViiV’s Black Women’s Working Group. This Group has crafted a framework that shifts the language from “risk-based” to “reasons for prevention” – focusing on bodily autonomy and empowerment, while eliminating stigmatizing and victimizing messaging, to help address the HIV care gap.

Recognizing that impactful messaging extends beyond a single long-form video, we created a social video series to reach targeted audiences across social channels. Comprised of short, digestible, engaging videos with distinct messages, this content was launched across Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and other channels.

Our strategic channel mix was designed to reach new and existing audiences that are disproportionately impacted by HIV and those who make HIV care decisions.

First, we set out to meet our audience of Black women on the channels where they are already spending time consuming dynamic content. We focused our efforts on Instagram, where U.S.-based Black and African American women aged 18-40 over index on the platform by 66% and use it at least once a day.

We also placed a focus on YouTube, keeping in mind its function as a search and discovery tool and its increasing favorability among Black women aged 18-40.

Building on the insight that many stigmatizing conversations take place within a healthcare setting, LinkedIn was strategically used to engage healthcare and industry professionals, including primary care physicians, OBGYNs, HIV specialists, advocates and scientists. This effort further contextualized the importance of understanding a nuanced patient experience for people driving care, research and innovation in HIV and ensuring that they had the tools needed to support prevention measures for all patients.

Lastly, we created GIFs and stickers for GIPHY, highlighting notable phrases and moments from the episode for broad shareability of our key messages across social and messaging platforms.


Our campaign struck a chord, sparking meaningful dialogue and engagement about stigma and HIV prevention for Black women across platforms with our new and existing target audiences.

We found an incredibly receptive audience on YouTube – our full episode generated 205% more views than is typical for our channel, while the social series on YouTube Shorts had an average 93% completion rate, demonstrating that our audience was eager to consume our key messages.

On Instagram, each organic post generated 15 times our usual comments and about 3 times our average shares, indicating strong engagement among our audience.

On LinkedIn, organic posts related to the episode were shared 61% more than our typical content, suggesting strong resonance within the industry and success in reaching new audiences. Additionally, although not a priority channel, when this content was shared on X, we saw a largely thoughtful and positive response despite the platform’s tendency to be critical of similar topics.

Overall, we generated more than 3.3 million views of GIFs and stickers on GIPHY and over 663,000 views across YouTube and organically on Instagram and LinkedIn, with content that sparked critical thinking and discussion around stigma in HIV for Black women.

Most impressive was the overwhelmingly positive response from target audiences, including comments expressing recognition that “stigma is still an issue” to praise for having such a “brave conversation,” indicating that we successfully ignited crucial conversations around HIV prevention among Black women, breaking down barriers and challenging stigma along the way.


Video for Science on the Sofa: Preventing HIV in Black Women

Entrant Company / Organization Name

GCI Health, ViiV Healthcare


Entry Credits