London’s HIV prevention campaign, Do It London, shortlisted for Campaign of the Year category at the distinguished LGC Awards 2018.
The latest Do It London campaign, which is live now and runs until early 2018, uses simple and clear imagery to inform the public of the variety of options for avoiding transmission of HIV through sexual contact.
The campaign encourages Londoners to “do it your way” by advocating that HIV prevention consists of a combination of options, including:
♦ using condoms
♦ testing regularly for the virus
♦ using Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and
♦ for people who have been diagnosed HIV positive, achieving an “undetectable” viral load through the use of antiretroviral medication.
Dramatic drop in HIV diagnoses in London
The Do it your way phase of the campaign follows two years of successful Do It London social marketing to promote HIV testing and safer sex in the capital.
During this same period, HIV diagnoses in the capital have dropped dramatically, with a record 40 per cent reduction in new diagnoses in five central London clinics. Such a dramatic fall was not observed in the rest of England.
The latest campaign was coordinated with the launch of a new NHS Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) trial which will make the preventative drugs (taken by HIV-negative people to protect against the virus) available to groups considered at high risk of HIV, such as men who have sex with men (MSM), at no cost from sexual health clinics.
The campaign also introduces the concept of achieving an “undetectable” HIV status. Recent scientific studies have shown that people with diagnosed HIV, on medical treatment with an “undetectable viral load”, cannot pass the virus on to their sexual partners.
“Undetectable” means that the virus, whilst still present in the body, is effectively suppressed and no longer detectable in standard blood tests. Therefore, being “undetectable” means a person cannot transmit HIV through sex.
Cllr Kevin Davis, London Councils’ Executive member for health, said: “I am very proud of Do It London’s achievements in reducing HIV in the capital since the campaign began in 2015 after public health responsibilities were devolved to the boroughs. Its success is also supporting ambitious international efforts to end the global HIV epidemic by 2030.
“In these difficult financial times, Londoners can be proud that their councils are leading this important work via a dedicated city-wide HIV prevention programme.”
Paul Steinberg, Lead Commissioner of the London HIV Prevention Programme, added: “Do It London has made a major contribution to the substantial increases in HIV testing in the city, with very positive consequences for early diagnosis, treatment and prevention.
“We are very pleased that this new campaign also publicises PrEP and undetectable status for the first time, as part of a combination of measures to prevent HIV.”
The winner will be announced at a gala dinner on March 21, 2018, at Grosvenor House, London.