The Latino LGBTQ storytelling podcast series Love in Gravity returns this month for season 2, with a romantic tale that challenges stigmas and stereotypes while raising awareness about HIV and prevention.

Presented by HIV drugmaker ViiV Healthcare, the Latino series follows Texan college footballer Teo (Froy Gutierrez) and Jules (Marcel Ruiz) and touches on HIV, faith, mother-son relationships, family and first love. The series description reads:

“This season, Jules and Teo meet unexpectedly at one of the biggest moments of their lives—each on the cusp of stardom, exposed to the world and in the process of becoming, they fight to find what they need to be for themselves, for each other, for their families, and for their fans.”

Here’s a Facebook promo for season 2:

The first episode premiered October 5, and a new one will be released each week. You can listen to episodes for free on Apple and Spotify.

According to ViiV, when the first season came out last summer, it garnered 10 million downloads. At the 2022 U.S. Conference on HIV/AIDS held in Puerto Rico, a stellar cast performed some of the stories.

In addition to Gutierrez (who starred in Teen Wolf, Cruel Summer) and Ruiz (One Day at a Time), the cast of season 2 includes Gina Torres (Firefly, Suits) and Cecilia Suarez (Promised Land, The House of Flowers).

Love in Gravity is being released during National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15), and in the days leading up to National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day, marked each October 15. October is also LGBTQ History Month.

Latinos are disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic. As the POZ Basics on the topic explains:

While they make up about 19% of the U.S. population, Latinos accounted for 29% of all new HIV cases in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Only African Americans have a higher rate of new HIV diagnoses. About a quarter (24%) of the estimated 1.2 million Americans living with HIV that year were Latino. 

Among Latino men, those who have sex with men account for the largest proportion of new diagnoses (85%); 30% of gay and bisexual men diagnosed with HIV in 2018 were Latino. Among Latina women, the most common risk factors are heterosexual contact (87%) and injection drug use (12%). Overall, the rate of new cases among Latinos has remained stable in recent years, but it has risen among young men ages 25 to 34.

The CDC estimates that five out of six Latinos living with HIV have been tested and are aware of their status. Testing is important because those who know their status can start antiretroviral treatment, which halts disease progression and prevents transmission of HIV, as people who achieve an undetectable viral load do not transmit the virus. Unfortunately, compared with HIV-positive people overall, Latinos have a lower likelihood of receiving HIV care (74%), remaining in care (59%) and achieving viral suppression (65%). Latinos are also less likely to be taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV.