HIV Reflections Poem

by Pegasus for Merck

Summary of work

To demonstrate the changing healthcare professional/patient conversation in HIV over the past 30 years and to reaffirm MSD’s place in the HIV landscape, Pegasus created a ‘reverse poem’. Read one way, it gives an impressionistic feel of a diagnosis of HIV in 1987. Read the other way, presents the same diagnosis in 2017 to show how dramatically the patient experience of HIV has changed.

The starting point of the poem was the lived experience of patients themselves. Insights were drawn from The Terrence Higgins ‘Uncharted Territory’ report and from discussions with Positively UK. From their insights, we determined some of the most important changes over the last three decades.

Some things remained the same – most notably thinking about those we’ve lost along the way. The next step was to work these ideas into a poem that would work in both directions.

We needed to give a lot of thought to the emotional truths of living with HIV, rather than the factual circumstances to grip the reader and put them in the patient’s shoes. The first (and last) lines had to be pretty impactful on both readings, and we hope we achieved that in the poem.

Judges’ comments

The HIV Reflections Poem is a rare treat to see such artistry in med comms. A clever piece demonstrating time and effort in crafting, while delivering the message clearly.