21 June 2016 | by Ian Howley

London boroughs are launching a new phase of their pioneering Do it London campaign to raise awareness of the importance of getting tested for HIV. 

The new summer phase of this unique regional campaign focuses on informing people how quick and easy it is to get tested for HIV - as people can request self-sampling kits to use at home and receive the results by post.

During London Pride weekend (Saturday 25 June and Sunday 26 June), prominent adverts will appear at Oxford Circus and Baker Street tube stations. Campaign advertising will also be displayed across the London transport network, on screens in GP surgeries and phone kiosks across the capital. Female changing rooms will also be used to deliver positive messages about getting tested for HIV. 

Do it London also uses social media on mobiles, apps and websites, digital adverts and radio adverts, as these have been shown to be the most effective ways to reach people and encourage them to take action.

Recent evaluation of the Do It London campaign showed that 67 per cent of Londoners surveyed agreed that it had influenced their behaviour positively towards HIV testing. 

Do It London is part of the £3.4 million London HIV Prevention Programme (LHPP), which is funded by the 32 London boroughs and the City of London. The programme is managed by Lambeth Council and is a direct response to the fact that London continues to have the highest prevalence of HIV in England.

Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE, London Councils’ Executive member for health, said: “It’s been one year since Do It London first hit the streets of London and all boroughs remain determined to work together to reduce HIV infection rates in the capital and raise awareness of the importance of getting tested.

“Transmission rates remain relatively high and there are also a significant number of people living with undiagnosed HIV in the capital. We are keen to continue our efforts to promote the importance of regular HIV testing, particularly for people in at-risk groups.”

Paul Steinberg, LHPP Programme Commissioner, said: “This new campaign builds on the tried and tested approach pioneered last summer, with a fresh new visual twist. The campaign is deliberately targeted at Londoners during social times and also, more privately, using digital media. It uses up-to-date consumer insight to make sure we reach those most at risk of HIV.”

Latest figures suggest 35,363 Londoners are living with diagnosed HIV and 2,516 of the 6,151 new HIV diagnoses in 2014 were in London. Crucially, an average of 37 per cent of diagnoses are late, which has a direct effect on the health of the individual and onward transmission.

For more information, visit doitlondon.org or follow the campaign on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

To find your nearest GUM clinic, visit www.gmfa.org.uk/clinics