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Councils launch first London-wide HIV prevention campaign

London councils are working collectively for the first-time on a campaign to cut HIV infection across the capital

  • By Jim Ranger

London councils are working collectively for the first-time on a campaign to cut HIV infection across the capital, which was launched today.

‘Do It London’ is the public face of the London HIV Prevention Programme (LHPP). This £3.4 million three-year programme is funded by the 32 London boroughs and the City of London, having been agreed by London Councils.

The programme is managed by Lambeth Council and is a direct response to the fact that London has the highest prevalence of HIV in England.

From today, advertising will appear on more than 200 phone boxes across the capital, followed by publicity at Gay Pride and Notting Hill Carnival, as well as during the Christmas and New Year party season and National HIV Prevention Week in November.

Cllr Teresa O’Neill, London Councils’ Executive member for health, said:

“London boroughs are determined to reduce the prevalence of HIV and the launch of the ‘Do It London’ campaign marks an important step in raising awareness of testing across the capital.

“Working with the boroughs, London Councils will be pressing government to support the fight against HIV through allocating funding in a way which properly reflects the scale of this complex and urgent challenge.”

Research shows 33,863 Londoners are living with diagnosed HIV and 2,122 of the 6,000 new HIV diagnoses in 2013 were in London.

Crucially, 41 per cent of diagnoses are late, which has a direct effect on both the health of the individual and onward transmission.

Paul Steinberg, LHPP Programme Commissioner, said:

“This campaign demonstrates the value of using shared resources to aim to improve public health across London.

“The message is clear: regular HIV testing should be a part of looking after your health, especially for those most at risk. Earlier diagnosis will help reduce new infections in London and enable people to access treatment.

“The campaign will also emphasise the importance of safe sex in preventing HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections.”

Black Africans and men who have sex with men (MSM) are among the at-risk groups who will be addressed by future stages of the campaign.

ENDS

Notes to Editor

- Gay, bisexual men or other men who have sex with men (MSM) and black Africans are the groups most at risk of HIV infection (62 per cent and 23 per cent respectively of new diagnoses in 2013).

- It is estimated that one-in-eight MSM in London are living with HIV, compared to one in 26 outside the capital.

- Across the UK, black African communities are estimated to collectively contain the largest number of people with undiagnosed HIV infection (13,000).

- Across England, 32 of the 52 upper-tier local authorities classified as ‘high prevalence’ for HIV are in London.

- In 2013, 2,122 of the 6,000 new HIV diagnoses were for Londoners, giving the capital a diagnosis rate of 37 per 100,000 (15-59 years) compared to 13 per 100,000 nationally.

- It is estimated that as many as 24 per cent of those with HIV across the UK have not been diagnosed.

- For more information, visit http://doitlondon.org/.