The latest Do It London campaign uses simple and clear imagery to inform the public of the variety of options for avoiding transmission of HIV through sexual contact, based on the latest scientific evidence on HIV prevention.
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.
Campaign leads to 40% drop in HIV diagnosis
Today’s 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.
PrEP in the UK
The campaign appears just weeks before 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.
Undetectable means uninfectious
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.
Paul Steinberg, Lead Commissioner of the London HIV Prevention Programme said:
“This new campaign is rooted in clear and emerging evidence that combination prevention is having a positive impact in reducing HIV transmission in London. 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.”
The campaign will appear across the transport network, on social media and via tie-in partnerships on radio and in print press. Accompanied by a newly updated website, doitlondon.org, which provides detailed information about each HIV prevention choice, the campaign continues to be supported by the Do It London condom scheme, which provides over 1 million free condoms every year, as well as sexual health outreach work in London’s gay pubs, bars and clubs.