With half of all new HIV diagnoses in England last year made in London, councils in the capital are taking action by building on their HIV prevention campaign, 'Do It London', with the launch of a new safer sex phase.
The campaign focuses on safer sex in the party season, using the taglines ‘It was in the heat of the moment’ and ‘It was just a one-off’. It goes on to highlight that sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, are on the rise in London, and using condoms during sex can offer protection.
Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE, London Councils’ Executive member for health, said:
“Raising awareness of HIV and STIs across the capital by promoting testing, safer sex and other prevention methods is important to London boroughs and we are proud to support 'Do It London' as the campaign takes another step forward. Our regional approach to HIV prevention demonstrates that London’s local authorities have grasped their public health responsibilities in a coherent and forward-thinking way.
“London Councils is also calling on government to safeguard the sexual health of Londoners by allocating funding that properly reflects the unique challenges facing the capital.”
Paul Steinberg, London HIV Prevention Programme Commissioner, said:
“The message is clear: regular HIV testing is a part of looking after your health, and preventing infections by protecting yourself and your partners is also of great importance. Combination HIV prevention is the way forward. Condoms will continue to play an important part in the fight against HIV and other STIs, alongside regular testing and effective treatment.”
The 'Do It London' campaign operates on behalf of the 32 London boroughs and the City of London and is part of the London HIV Prevention Programme (LHPP). Since its launch in April 2015 it has delivered over 22 million display ads and distributed over one million Do It London branded condoms. The campaign offers a direct and targeted response to the groups who are most at risk – men who have sex with men (MSM) and black African communities – by enabling London boroughs to work together.
From today (Monday 30 November), advertising will appear inside 4,000 tube trains and 3,900 London buses, in bars and clubs across the capital, as well in GP surgeries, print publications, on radio and online digital display. The winter phase of the campaign will run throughout December and into spring 2016.
Timed to follow National HIV Testing Week, the message of this London-focused campaign alerts people to the sharp rises in HIV and STIs in the capital in certain groups and advises that one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of transmission is to do it with a condom.
HIV prevalence is higher in London than anywhere else in England, with one in eight MSM living with HIV in London, compared to one in 26 outside London. London boroughs represent 19 of the 20 local authorities with the highest diagnosed prevalence rates of HIV in the country, as well as the highest number of diagnoses of STIs, and the incidence is rising with the increase of chemsex and riskier behaviour.
In 2011 it was estimated that one-in-five Londoners with HIV did not know they were HIV positive. Although progress has been made, 41 per cent of diagnoses in London are still late, which affects the health of the individual and increases the danger of transmission.
For more information visit the 'Do It London' website.