Londoners urged to get an HIV test for Christmas
It might not be something you’d expect to find under the Christmas tree – but Londoners are being urged to get an HIV test this Christmas season.
The capital’s local authorities have this week launched a new phase of the ‘Do It London’ safe sex campaign “to coincide with the Christmas party season”.
The campaign comes after statistics from Public Health England revealed that London accounts for half of all HIV diagnoses in the UK – with 2,671 diagnoses in London compared to 2,887 in the rest of the country.
More than half of those diagnosed with HIV in London are men who have sex with men.
32 London boroughs and the City of London launched the campaign, which will feature advertising inside 4,000 tube trains and 3,900 London buses, in bars and clubs across the capital, as well in GP surgeries, print publications, on radio and online digital display.
The campaign “focuses on safer sex in the party season” – using the taglines ‘It was in the heat of the moment’ and ‘It was just a one-off’.
Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE, London Councils’ Executive member for health, said: “Raising awareness of HIV and STIs across the capital by promoting testing, safer sex and other prevention methods is important to London boroughs and we are proud to support ‘Do It London’ as the campaign takes another step forward.
“Our regional approach to HIV prevention demonstrates that London’s local authorities have grasped their public health responsibilities in a coherent and forward-thinking way.
“London Councils is also calling on government to safeguard the sexual health of Londoners by allocating funding that properly reflects the unique challenges facing the capital.”
Paul Steinberg, London HIV Prevention Programme Commissioner, said: “The message is clear: regular HIV testing is a part of looking after your health, and preventing infections by protecting yourself and your partners is also of great importance.
“Combination HIV prevention is the way forward. Condoms will continue to play an important part in the fight against HIV and other STIs, alongside regular testing and effective treatment.”