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How a pharmaceutical company’s HIV research became immersive theater

September 09, 2019 / CHRISTOPHER ZARA

Four years ago, when ViiV Healthcare commissioned an ethnographic research study to understand the impact of HIV on black men in Baltimore and Jackson, Mississippi, the pharmaceutical company came away with a set of complex findings. Cultural identity, contextual environment, social structures and lack thereof—they all play a role in contributing to the bleak CDC statistic that, at the current infection rates, one out of every two black men in the U.S. who has sex with men will be infected with HIV in their lifetime.