The CEO of pharmaceutical company GSK, Emma Walmsley, has done something many leaders shy away from when it comes to controversial topics: Shown face and become a voice of representation.
In the latest video for the company’s “Getting Ahead Together” series, Walmsley interviewed a man named Jorge, who shared his story about life with HIV.
“At GSK, our fight against HIV started over 40 years ago,” she said before detailing the horrific events of the 1980s and 90s. She lost one of her own friends in the early '90s, a funeral she called her first.
However, times have changed and advancements have been made, of which Walmsley also notes the importance of GSK’s work with their HIV specialist team at ViiV Healthcare along with other advocates and researchers in advancing treatment and prevention.
As for Jorge, he shared his vulnerable story, from being rejected by his family to finding love in his chosen family. He was diagnosed with HIV two years into that relationship before “losing himself” to the diagnosis for four years as he searched for the next path, which has led him to teaching, therapy, and advocacy for HIV-positive people.
Walmsley further discusses the importance of people like Jorge being open about their status to help fight the stigma, and how it adds just as much to the fight as the scientists looking for a cure.
“We absolutely know that innovation is not enough,” she said, saying scientists were working hard to get treatments to everyone, regardless of their status.
Other topics Walmsley has explored for the company’s series is a focus on careers in STEM, as well as learning more about vaccines.