Latest HIV figures are "immensely encouraging" for London

  • By JackGraves

New data showing a reduction in HIV rates in the capital has been welcomed by London Councils.

Figures released today by Public Health England confirm HIV rates continue to decline, with a substantial decrease over the past two years.

The data reveals that 1,675 people were diagnosed with HIV in London in 2017 compared to 2,090 in 2016. This represents a fall of 21 per cent in 2016-17 in London, compared to the UK-wide decrease of 17 per cent. 

London Councils hails this achievement as demonstrating the benefits of London’s ground-breaking approach to HIV prevention. 

The London HIV Prevention Programme (LHPP) is a collaboration of boroughs working to reduce HIV rates. The programme runs the city-wide Do It London campaign, an award-winning initiative set up in 2015 that helps Londoners understand how to look after their sexual health and prevent HIV transmission.

Do It London has promoted its messages all across the capital – including through thousands of street-side adverts, almost 27,000 ad panels on the London Underground and buses, and more than 64 million digital display impressions on Londoners’ mobiles, tablets, and laptops.

Since Do It London began there has been a downward trend in the number of people diagnosed with HIV in the capital.   

Cllr Peter John OBE, Chair of London Councils, said:

“These latest figures are immensely encouraging as they show good progress being made in reducing HIV rates in the capital.

“We’re proud of the contribution made by the London HIV Prevention Programme and the Do It London campaign to this downward trend. By working efficiently and effectively together, London’s boroughs ensure strong and consistent messages are communicated to Londoners about the importance of testing and protection.  

“This is essential for raising public awareness and impacting people’s behaviour. Today’s good news shows the value of our collaborative approach.”  

Paul Steinberg, lead commissioner of the London HIV Prevention Programme, said:

“Today’s report highlights the importance of a combined approach to prevention of HIV, as promoted by the award-winning Do It London campaign. London’s large increases in HIV testing, particularly in repeat HIV testing among higher-risk men, and improvements in the uptake of anti-retroviral therapy are making a real difference.

“The capital has made huge progress in reducing HIV incidence in recent years, as London boroughs have invested over a million pounds per year in the LHPP.

"However, HIV remains a major public health challenge in the capital – there are around 36,000 people in London living with HIV, and we need to continue our efforts to reduce late diagnosis. We remain as committed as ever to raising awareness and improving public health outcomes.”

Earlier this year, London joined the worldwide Fast-Track Cities initiative and became one of the first global cities to meet the UN’s ambitious HIV diagnosis and treatment targets. Working together with other cities, London has pledged to achieve three key HIV goals by 2030: zero new transmissions, zero deaths, and zero stigma.

Do It London is the largest campaign for driving progress towards these ambitious goals in the capital. If current trends continue, London can be confident of achieving them within the next decade. 

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

More information on the Do It London campaign and its HIV prevention messages can be found at www.doitlondon.org 

In recognition of its ground-breaking work and success in reducing incidence of HIV, Do It London was named campaign of the year at the LGC Awards 2018.

The London HIV Prevention Programme (LHPP) is a collaboration led by Lambeth Council on behalf of 30 London boroughs and the City of London. Each partner contributes to the LHPP on a sliding scale relative to the HIV prevalence in its area. The programme delivers London-wide outreach, free testing and condom distribution to men who have sex with men, as well as the capital’s HIV prevention campaign Do It London.

The overarching aims of the LHPP are to reduce new HIV infections and increase earlier diagnosis of HIV by:

  • Increasing the uptake of HIV testing
  • Promoting condom use
  • Advocating for safer sexual behaviours.

These aims are delivered by the LHPP through three key elements:

  • “Do It London” – multimedia communications on HIV for all Londoners, with specific campaigns targeted at key at-risk groups of MSM and black African communities;
  • condom procurement, promotion and distribution; and
  • targeted outreach via face-to-face provision and digital channels.

London Councils represents London’s 32 boroughs and the City of London and facilitates the LHPP’s governance. It is a cross-party organisation that works on behalf of all of its member authorities regardless of political persuasion.