Latest burst of the Lambeth-led Do It London campaign tackles HIV stigma

1 December 2017

Written by: Do It London

Health and Wellbeing

Do It London’s latest phase explains how achieving undetectable status can make the risk of transmitting the virus to a partner almost non-existent.

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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 HIV medication.

Undetectable means uninfectious

The concept of achieving an “undetectable” HIV status is important for Londoners to understand as it highlights how far we have come since the beginnings of the epidemic in the 1980s. The vast majority of people on HIV treatment in England have an undetectable status. “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 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 has appeared across the transport network, on social media and via tie-in partnerships on radio and in print press.

Accompanied by the Do It London website, 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.

Campaign leads to 40% drop in HIV diagnosis

Today’s campaign follows over 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.