Skip to content

Press Release: Launch of #HIVBEATS

Press Release: Launch of #HIVBEATS 1

New Campaign Features Top YouTube and Social Media Stars to Educate Young People About Latest in HIV/AIDS

“Girl, no! You cannot get HIV like that!,” exclaims YouTube star Todrick Hall in a new video for HIV BEATS, an upbeat and informative new series from #endHIV and Greater Than AIDS, made in collaboration with YouTube. 

Featuring top YouTube influencers, the series debuts on the 35th anniversary of the first case of HIV/AIDS (June 5). HIV BEATS aims to connect with younger audiences about game-changing advances in HIV prevention, testing and treatment. The CDC reports people under 25 now account for a quarter of new infections in the U.S., and are among those least likely to know their status and to be on treatment if living with HIV.

Ru Paul’s Drag Race winner, Bob the Drag Queen, purrs seductively in his video about PrEP, a pill that prevents HIV. While Todrick, who has more than 2.1 million YouTube subscribers, sets the record straight about common misperceptions about how HIV is and is not transmitted, a continued source of HIV stigma.

Also featured in the fun and fact-filled campaign are Davey Wavey (YouTuber; 900k+ subscribers) on what it means to be “undetectable;” Zackary Drucker (I Am Cait; Transparent) on how HIV treatment improves health and reduces transmission; Catrific (YouTuber; 700k+) on preventing mother to child HIV transmission; and Amber’s Closet (YouTuber; 500k+) on HIV testing options. Collectively, the roster and partner organizations have a starting social reach of more than 8 million, a significant share of the population the campaign hopes to reach.

“HIV Beats is a millennial response from a generation that has never lived without HIV/AIDS,” said Zachary Barnett, Founder and Executive Director of the Abzyme Research Foundation which is running the #endHIV Campaign. “We are thrilled to unleash so much creativity in the HIV prevention space, and also introduce younger audiences to our HIV cure efforts.”

“An AIDS-free future is possible, but young people must be engaged,” said Tina Hoff, Senior Vice President and Director, Health Communications & Media Partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation, which directs Greater Than AIDS. “HIV BEATS reaches young people where they are with the information they need to stay healthy, regardless of status.”

Filmed at YouTube Space LA, HIV Beats was directed by Miranda Penn Turin, edited by Bec Stupac, and produced by Diktator. Songwriter Lucian Piane (Sia, Rupaul, Rupaul’s Drag Race, Adam Lambert) provided original music and Melissa Schade, who works with Ryan Heffington (Sia), choreographed. Production was supported by unrestricted grant funding from Gilead Sciences, Inc. to the Abzyme Research Foundation. Gilead Sciences, Inc. has had no input into the development or content of these materials.

To watch all the videos and learn more about the HIV BEATS campaign, go to: 

About #endHIV

#endHIV is a campaign of the Abzyme Research Foundation to advance a new therapeutic HIV vaccine.  Using cutting-edge abzyme technology developed by Dr. Sudhir Paul at the University of Texas, Houston Medical Center, the vaccine is in the process of seeking permission from the FDA for Phase I human trials.

About Greater Than AIDS

Greater Than AIDS is a leading national public information response focused on the U.S. domestic epidemic. Launched in 2009 by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Black AIDS Institute, it is supported by a broad coalition of public and private sector partners, including: major media and other business leaders; Federal, state and local health agencies and departments; national leadership groups; AIDS service and other community organizations; and foundations, among others. Through targeted media messages and community outreach, Greater Than AIDS works to increase knowledge, reduce stigma and promote actions to stem the spread of the disease. While national in scope, Greater Than AIDS focuses on communities most affected.

About Kaiser Family Foundation

The Kaiser Family Foundation, a leader in health policy analysis, health journalism and communication, is dedicated to filling the need for trusted, independent information on the major health issues facing our nation and its people. The Foundation is a non-profit private operating foundation based in Menlo Park, California.