“We all have a role to play and a responsibility when it comes to HIV prevention,” says fashion designer, philanthropist and businesswoman Tina Knowles-Lawson (aka Beyoncé’s mom). She speaks from experience, having lost a best friend to AIDS early in the epidemic. Her insight is part of the new public service announcement (PSA) campaign “Me in You, You in Me,” which aims to destigmatize HIV discussions and spotlight HIV prevention and treatment as both an individual act and a community effort.
Produced by ViiV Healthcare, the PSAs pair cultural influencers who have never met to discuss how they’d like to be loved and viewed without preconceived judgements. Then they’re filmed seeing each other for the first time. Knowles-Lawson, for example, met NBA player–turned–sports analyst Jalen Rose.
Other participants include comedian and activist Kalen Allen, photographer Juan Veloz, TikTok influencer and activist Ve’ondre Mitchell, and model and sex worker Reno Gold. All of the pairings are highlighted in this “Me in You, You in Me” PSA:
The campaign represents the populations—such as Black women, gay men and sex workers—most affected by HIV but often less likely to know about or access prevention, such as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis in the form of pills and injections) and U=U (Undetectable Equals Untransmittable, the fact that people with HIV don’t transmit it if they take meds and their virus is suppressed).
“In a world where we are often reminded of all the ways we are different, this campaign is an exploration of all things we share. It’s an invitation to find community in and with each other to increase everyone’s acceptance of and participation in HIV prevention,” said Marc Meachem, head of US External Affairs, ViiV Healthcare, in a press statement. “Recognizing that the communities most disproportionately affected by HIV are those who have benefited the least from the advances in HIV prevention, this campaign seeks to ensure that all people are aware of the different options to prevent HIV and to connect them to resources.”
Reno Gold—an adult film star featured in the PSA above with Juan Veloz—tells POZ that the campaign’s message of breaking down boundaries and stigma resonated. “Since I’m one of the most Google-searched porn stars, I wanted to make a positive impact and share how important HIV prevention is,” he says, adding, “my industry is diligent in its effort to stop the spread. Everyone’s on PrEP or antiretrovirals and getting tested often.”
Gold is no newbie when it comes to HIV advocacy. He made headlines in 2020 when he donated one week of his OnlyFans earnings—$27,202.32!—to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
“The message in [“Me in You, You in Me”] is important for all people, gay or straight, to hear,” Gold says of his latest advocacy effort. “We all have a part to play in HIV prevention.”