- In preparation for the delayed step 4 easing of social distancing restrictions, Do It London’s ‘Four Sure’ campaign reminds Londoners to protect their sexual health.
- The campaign is a reboot of the successful winter 2020/21 ‘Four Sure’ campaign, which resulted in a record number of home HIV testing kits ordered during the winter lockdown period.
A reboot of a local government-backed public health campaign, which highlights the four scientifically proven ways to prevent HIV, launches today in anticipation of the expected easing of all social distancing restrictions in July.
The Do It London campaign, delivered by the London HIV Prevention Programme (LHPP) and supported by London boroughs, will be visible across a range of outdoor advertising billboards in the capital in the coming weeks, marking the start of a summer of increased social interaction.
The ‘four sure’ methods of the combination prevention approach are:
• testing regularly for the virus;
• correct and consistent condom use;
• use of the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), the preventative HIV medication;
• for people diagnosed HIV positive, achieving an “undetectable” viral load via effective antiretroviral medication. This safeguards the health of people diagnosed with HIV and has the additional benefit of eliminating the risk of onwards viral transmission to their sexual partners.
HIV remains a major public health challenge in London. The latest figures show an estimated 37,000 Londoners are living with HIV.
The decision to relaunch the previously digitally-focussed campaign is based on the very positive evaluation feedback and impressive engagement metrics it achieved earlier in the year. The initial ‘Four Sure’ campaign, which ran between December 2020 and February 2021, drove over 250,000 page views to the educational Do It London website, which carries information about each method of prevention. Between December 2020 and February 2021, over 540 home testing HIV kits were directly ordered as a result of digital marketing by Do It London.
As London strives to deliver its ambitious target of zero new HIV infections by 2030, regular testing will be crucial in ensuring the estimated 2,000 Londoners living with an undiagnosed HIV infection are identified. This 'Four Sure’ campaign spreads the message that HIV is preventable, that an HIV diagnosis is treatable, and that such treatment acts as prevention.
Cllr Danny Thorpe, London Councils’ Executive Member for Health & Care, said:
“HIV prevention remains as important as ever. Alongside our continuing response to Covid-19, boroughs are determined to keep working together to tackle the capital’s other key public health challenges – including HIV.
“With social distancing restrictions slowly being reduced, this campaign is a crucial reminder to Londoners to protect themselves against HIV using the ‘four sure’ methods.
“London has made excellent progress in reducing HIV rates in recent years and we’re fully committed to maintaining this momentum.”
Paul Steinberg, Lead Commissioner of the London HIV Prevention Programme, said:
“The huge advances in HIV testing, treatment and prevention in recent years have underpinned the significant reductions we have witnessed in new diagnoses across London.
“As society emerges from lockdown this summer, we want the public to be aware of the scientifically proven ways to prevent HIV and take the right steps to protect themselves against infection.”
London is a world leader in the diagnosis and treatment of HIV. In 2019, London exceeded the UNAIDS 90-90-90 target for the second consecutive year, with 95% of people living with HIV being diagnosed, 98% of those diagnosed being on treatment and 97% of those on treatment having an undetectable viral load.
Visit www.doitlondon.org for more information about HIV combination prevention, including direct links to sexual health services. The website also contains a newly updated section about how to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection when having sex.
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. Do It London is the public campaign of the London HIV Prevention Programme (LHPP), a unique partnership of 32 local authorities which is delivered on their behalf by Lambeth Council since 2014. For more information visit: www.doitlondon.org
Do It London launched in 2015 in response to rising rates of HIV infections in the capital since the turn of the century. London has since witnessed a major reduction in the number of people diagnosed with HIV and has set itself the target of ‘zero new HIV diagnoses by 2030’.
2. PrEP is for people who are HIV negative but at high risk of infection, such as men who have sex with men, black African males & females, and people who have an HIV positive partner. Up-to-date guidance on how to access PrEP from the NHS following its recent routine commissioning (1 October 2020) can be found on our website: http://doitlondon.org/prep/
3. Undetectable or U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable) means that people on effective HIV treatment end up having an undetectable viral load and cannot pass on/transmit the virus to their partners. This is aligned with a worldwide HIV awareness initiative known as “U=U”. For more information about the U=U initiative, visit: https://www.preventionaccess.org/about
4. HIV diagnoses data, including reductions in new diagnoses and diagnosis rates for London and England come from Public Health England data. The latest report can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hiv-annual-data-tables