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60 per cent of Londoners more likely to practice safe sex following hard-hitting campaign

  • By Gemma Kappala-R...

A capital-wide HIV prevention campaign is celebrating success after Londoners reported being influenced by its innovative tactics and eye-catching designs.

Since its launch in May 2015, Do It London – which is funded by London boroughs – has targeted a series of print, digital and social media adverts at the most at-risk residents across the capital. The programme has also delivered over 2 million free condoms.

Using attention-grabbing taglines such as ‘you can do it before work’, the campaign – which is the public face of London HIV Prevention Programme (LHPP) – has delivered 22 million adverts to Londoners’ mobiles, tablets and popular websites, including apps such as gay social networking app Grindr. 

In addition, over 13,000 adverts have been placed on London’s buses and tube trains, over 400 video adverts have appeared on doctors’ surgery screens and 200 phone kiosk adverts have been utilised. 

Now, as part of an evaluation, Londoners have given their verdict – with 60 per cent saying the campaign had made them more likely to practice safe sex in the future and 67 per cent saying it had influenced their behaviour positively towards HIV testing.

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

“HIV testing and safe sex is an urgent issue in London and these statistics prove that a capital-wide approach delivers excellent results. But this is just the beginning. It is vital that we do not lose momentum and, working with the boroughs, London Councils will continue to press government to put their full support behind the work we’re doing in the capital.”

Paul Steinberg, LHPP Commissioner, said:

“This independent research demonstrates that our strategic approach to communicating with Londoners about the importance of HIV testing and safer sex is working. In just six months, Do It London has become a leading authority on sexual health in the capital and a strongly recognised brand. Yet, as recent data from Public Health England shows, the campaign has more to do to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections amongst those most affected communities.”

Further results

A quarter of respondents said they had taken an HIV test as a result of the campaign.
52 per cent said it made them more aware of the importance of regular HIV testing.
32 per cent said it prompted them to talk about safer sex with their partners and 30 percent said they had talked to friends. 
A quarter said it made them change their sexual behaviour.
44 percent of gay men and nearly 60 percent of Black African men said they were more aware of the importance of regular HIV testing.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1. Visit www.doitlondon.org for more information about the campaign, or to find out more about HIV testing and safer sex.

2. London Councils represents London’s 32 borough councils and the City of London. It is a cross-party organisation that works on behalf of all of its member authorities regardless of political persuasion. It also runs a number of direct services for member authorities including the Freedom Pass, Taxicard and Health Emergency Badge. It also runs an independent parking appeals service and a pan-London grants programme for voluntary organisations.

3. As Do It London moves into its second year, the evaluation will inform how the campaign targets Black African communities, men who have sex with men and younger people. These are the groups who are most at risk groups for HIV.

4. Research published in October last year revealed that 48 per cent (2,671) of all new HIV diagnoses in England were in London with men who have sex with men (MSM) accounting for 56 per cent (1,561) of all new cases in the capital. Public health officials remain concerned that more MSM were diagnosed with HIV in London in 2014 than in any year since the start of the epidemic in the 1980s. It is thought this could be because of ongoing high-risk behaviour which the Do It London campaign addresses directly through multiple channels in every single one of the 33 boroughs.

5. Two core conclusions of the independent market research evaluation were that:
a.) Awareness and recognition towards the campaign are very positive amongst MSM and black African men which indicates that campaign targeting and message relevance is working efficiently for these groups. 
b.) There was a clear higher recognition amongst sexually active audiences (4+ sexual partners in last 6 months) which indicates that Do It London’s approach is having a noticeable impact on awareness.

6. In summary, the evaluators said that there is very strong awareness of the campaign, especially among sexually active audiences and that there is also high creative recognition, particularly for black African males and MSM. The campaign has been very positively received and is perceived to be easy to understand, informative and eye-catching. Messaging for both HIV testing and safer sex is strong across all groups, particularly MSM and there is a very strong claimed impact for both sexual behaviour and HIV testing. The campaign prompted conversations about safe sex with partner(s) and friends and also highlighted the importance of regular HIV testing.