In Season 3 of ViiV Healthcare’s Being Seen podcast, covering Black women’s views on stigma, bias, power, HIV, and more. As with many diseases, Black women disproportionally bear the brunt of HIV. In 2019, 80% of new diagnoses were in women of color. According to the most recent data on women and HIV, AIDSVu.org reports that while Black women make up 7% of the US population, they account for 11% of all new HIV diagnoses and 56% of all new HIV diagnoses among women. When it comes to the epidemic and related themes, Black women have unique perspectives and experiences to share. In season three of its award-winning podcast, GSK's ViiV Healthcare examines this inequality and more. We'll learn more about how Black cis- and transgender women view themselves and wish to be seen by others in season 3, as well as how this connects to their health and well-being, stigma, power, and HIV.
Season 3 of ViiV Healthcare’s “Being Seen”
The 10-episode weekly podcast is hosted by actress and singer Anika Noni Rose, who won a Tony Award for Caroline, or Change, starred in the movie version of Dreamgirls and is also known as the voice of Tiana in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog.
In each of the Being Seen episodes, Rose is joined by other Black women to examine how representation and self-definition can affect stigma and stereotypes. Four episodes have been released so far. All of the episodes are free and may be found on Apple, Spotify, and the show's website, https://www.beingseenpodcast.com/.
The website highlight that: “Being Seen is an in-depth exploration of culture’s role in resolving the tension between how we are seen and how we see ourselves. It is a space to explore current cultural representations and their impact through conversations with leading artists, writers, activists, entertainers, and community leaders. If we create nuanced and accurate cultural portrayals of identity and experience, we have an opportunity to reduce stigma and change perception, impacting everything from HIV to institutional inequality.”
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“Being Seen” is once again produced by ViiV’s creative partner Harley & Co. ViiV Healthcare is a joint venture focused on HIV formed by pharma companies Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, and Shionogi. Cabotegravir, already approved to treat HIV, is inching toward being a pre-exposure prophylaxis option as well. An FDA decision is planned for early in the new year. Cabotegravir was approved by the FDA to treat HIV in January, and it is combined with Johnson & Johnson’s rilpirivine. Instead of taking daily medications, The resulting treatment, known commercially as Cabenuva, is injected every other month.
The aim for season three is to provide a way to “address how self-definition and representation are crucial to reducing stigma and erasing dangerous stereotypes, especially with regards to HIV.” The 10-episode podcast features major Black female names like actor Taraji P. Henson, author Roxane Gay, artist Ledisi, and "Pose" star Dominique Jackson, and covers issues like power, desire, responsibility, and humor. “We had the two fantastic seasons on men, but it was more than time for us to do the same for Black women,” according to Marc Meachem, ViiV’s head of external affairs for North America.
Despite the podcast's concentration on Black women and HIV, Meachem claims it's for everyone. He also believes that group discussions, rather than one-on-one dialogues, will lead to change. “I think when people access things in literature, in stories—which is why we have storytelling throughout human history—it resonates at a different level and allows you to think through issues and access them in a way that's powerful."