A young man makes a successful presentation for work, is congratulated by his colleagues, walks past a bakery, and then attends a party with his friends and family. The storyline that unfolds in a recent advertisement for the HIV drug Dovato looks a lot like a typical day for Luciano Reberte, who stars in the Spanish-language ad – the first of its kind for the drug’s maker, ViiV Healthcare.
Designed and produced entirely in Spanish, the spot began airing this summer on the Univision and Telemundo networks. Reberte, Dovato’s patient ambassador since December 2018, was invited by ViiV executives to be a part of the historic ad, but only if he shared his personal story with the ad’s producers. By showing Reberte going through her day, the ViiV team hope to illustrate how drugs like Dovato allow people living with HIV to simply live their lives.
“There were a lot of listening sessions and conversations with me to make sure this is really who I am in advertising and [that the ad] was a natural representation of my community, ”says Reberte.
Acting in advertising was a natural fit for Reberte, who has worked at the New York-based Latin American Commission on AIDS for the past six years and is now the director of community engagement for the nonprofit association. lucrative. Originally from Argentina, Reberte was diagnosed with HIV several years ago during a visit to New York. He admits that not having a Spanish-speaking doctor then made the experience even more frightening. Reberte believes Latinx people living with HIV respond best when health and treatment information is tailored to them.
Acting in the ad was, says Reberte, “important to me, not only for all the exposure I was going to have, but also because I represented my community and was in the first Spanish ad for this drug.”
He says he’s just one of the many HIV activists at Latinx who always watches new HIV ads and campaigns and asks, “Is this in Spanish? Does it really address or reflect the Spanish niche? Latinos in the United States are highly affected by HIV. We need to see these ads and campaigns represent our community.
Currently, 27 percent of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States are in Latinx adults and adolescents. This disproportionate number – Latinos make up only 18.5% of the US population – is something ViiV executives are well aware of.
“Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen a 16% increase in new HIV cases among Latinx men who have sex with men, indicating increased support and appropriate prevention and treatment efforts culture are necessary, ”said Marc Meachem, head of the United States. external affairs for ViiV Healthcare. “The Latinx community needs diverse and accessible HIV care and resources that reflect their unique needs, and resources in Spanish will help expand access to essential medical information for the more than 37 million Spanish speakers in the United States.”
He adds: “Beyond language, we know that it is essential that communities can see themselves reflected in efforts that are both representative of their experiences and culturally relevant. As a Latin American gay man living with HIV, the authentic story of Luciano featured in the very first Spanish TV commercial for HIV treatment promotes visibility and representation, which we hope will help over time to de-stigmatize HIV within the community.
During the first conversations around the ad campaign, Reberte emphasized the importance of family – a theme built into the party scene that wraps up the ad.
“The family has to be there,” Reberte told the producers. “For many Latinos, family is very important. Everything in the ad was taken from who I am.
Not having much experience in front of a video camera, Reberte was a little nervous before filming began.
“Sharing my HIV diagnosis in national advertising has been a lot,” he says. The ViiV team helped allay his anxiety, however. “They treated me like a top star. They were very patient and caring.
Now, with the ad spreading across the country, Reberte is emboldened by its impact.
“I think this ad will be a lesson for other companies, not just when it comes to HIV, but also for anyone who is trying to provide products and services to Latinx people,” Reberte said. “I think businesses need to do more.