To combat rising HIV rates, a new campaign has launched in London this summer.
Around 110,000 people are now living with HIV in the UK, which is almost double the figure of just a decade ago. Generally we don’t talk about it, but Black African communities are still disproportionately affected by HIV, despite the excellent (and free) treatment available on the NHS. Worryingly, 13,000 Black African people in the UK still don’t know they are infected with the virus because they haven’t tested. That’s a huge worry for public health officials who are behind this new multi-platform campaign.
1 in 4 people nationally are unaware of their HIV infection and, when they do test, heterosexual black African people are diagnosed late in 56% of all cases. Avoiding an HIV test does not make the virus go away; instead it only increases the risk of serious illness and even early death. Yet the benefits of testing are clear: someone diagnosed with HIV in this country can now expect to live a normal, healthy life under the care of our NHS.
Do It London HIV testing
That is why the new Do It London campaign has launched across the capital. Promoting free HIV testing and safer sex is the best way to drive down HIV rates and prevent people being infected with the virus. The campaign is part of the London HIV Prevention Programme (LHPP) led by Lambeth Council, on behalf of all 33 boroughs which make up Greater London.
Paul Steinberg, LHPP Lead Commissioner, said: “This programme is an example of what can be achieved by working together across boundaries to improve the health of our communities.
“The summer campaign has a clear message: testing for HIV is a straightforward part of looking after your health. It has never been easier to get a free, confidential test for HIV on the NHS.”
For more information, visit doitlondon.org, follow the campaign on Twitter @DoItLdn or like it on www.facebook.com/doitLDN