Terrence Higgins Trust is calling on gay and bisexual men to help halt the spread of HIV by making a small pledge of support on its new ‘It Starts With Me’ website.
Pledges can include pre-written statements, personal stories, photos or videos, all of which will come together to form an online wall of community voices. There is an option to remain anonymous, while another allows people to share pledges with their friends on Facebook.
The initiative is part of this year’s National HIV Testing Week, which runs 22 to 29 November.
The website also makes it easier for gay and bisexual men to find a test. If someone pledges to take a test during National HIV Testing Week, the website refers them to an online directory with details of their nearest testing service. If someone has tested recently, they are instead referred to a page where they can schedule their next appointment and set a reminder, if they choose.
Paul Ward, acting chief executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “We know that to halve the amount of undiagnosed HIV among gay and bi men, for every man who tested last year we need two more to come forward. This is absolutely achievable, but we need the whole community to get behind National HIV Testing Week, spread the word and really raise the roof on testing. This is one thing you can do, right now, to help halt the spread of HIV.”
In the UK, gay and bisexual men remain one of the groups most at risk of HIV. Currently, one in four gay men with HIV is undiagnosed and therefore more likely to pass the virus on than someone who has tested and is on treatment.