London’s ground-breaking HIV prevention campaign, Do It London, is one-of-six campaigns that have been shortlisted across the UK for the Campaign of the Year category at the distinguished LGC Awards 2018.
The latest Do It London campaign, which is live now and will run 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 that same period, HIV diagnoses in the capital 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, 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 said:
“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.”
Notes to Editors:
1. 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 and condom distribution as well as the capital’s HIV prevention campaign Do It London. Visit www.doitlondon.org to find out more.
2. The London HIV Prevention Programme was launched in 2015 for three years. Early in 2017 the LHPP was recommissioned for a further two years to 2019.
3. The Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) in London kick-started London’s joint HIV response five years ago by compiling a comprehensive Needs Assessment into HIV in London. For the first time this brought together the latest epidemiology, demographics, patient insight, service mapping and reviewed potential interventions for the capital. More on ADPH London here: http://adph.org.uk/networks/london.
4. The London HIV Needs Assessment recommended that a HIV prevention programme across the capital was required and that significant economies of scale could be achieved if all boroughs were to contribute and work together.
5. Consequently, in 2015, the Leaders of London’s councils commissioned the LHPP for three years to 2017. Late in 2016, Leaders agreed to continue the programme (and the integral Do It London campaigns) until at least 2019. London Councils represents London’s 32 borough councils 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. More about London Councils here: http://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk
6. The Local Government Chronicle (LGC) Awards are the biggest celebration of excellence in local government. Last year’s awards, hosted by Sir Trevor McDonald, saw more than 1,100 local government professionals gather at London’s Grosvenor House to reward and celebrate the very best in the sector. LGC Awards 2017 highlights and a full list of winners can be found here: http://awards.lgcplus.com.
7. The LGC Awards 2018 will be presented at a gala dinner on the evening of 21 March 2018 at Grosvenor House, London.