Sexual Health Week – Do It London promote ‘playing it safe’
Do It London, the multimedia campaign by the London HIV Prevention Programme (LHPP) is marking this year’s Sexual Health Week (Monday 11 – Sunday 17 September) by teaming up with Nathaniel Hall from Channel 4’s It’s A Sin and Joseph Mendez from BBC’s I Kissed A Boy.
The theme of this year’s Sexual Health Week is ‘playing it safe’. Joseph and Nathaniel will use their social media platforms to help raise awareness of the four sure ways to prevent HIV and stay safe with regular HIV testing, use of condoms and PrEP, and being Undetectable = Untransmissible (U=U).
Actor and HIV activist, Nathaniel, is most famed for his role in the hit drama, It’s A Sin, which centred on a group of friends growing up in the shadow of the 1980s AIDS crisis. Whilst South London actor and influencer Joseph Mendez is most famed for his role in BBC TV show I Kissed A Boy, the first gay dating show in the UK which explores topics such as body image and gay male healthcare.
During Sexual Health Week, Nathaniel will be sharing his experience of living with HIV and the content will be shared via Do It London’s social channels @doitldn.
“I’m passionate about spreading the word on HIV prevention and I’m delighted to be working with the Do It London campaign to help highlight the four proven ways to prevent HIV: testing, condoms, PrEP, Undetectable = Untransmissible (U=U). With so many options, it’s now easier than ever to prevent HIV transmissions and Sexual Health Week is the ideal time to find out how you can protect yourself. HIV is now treatable and preventable, but HIV stigma is the biggest barrier to people getting tested or accessing PrEP. So, I’m shouting from the rooftops about U=U and PrEP. HIV has changed – tell everyone!”
The UKSHA HIV in the UK, 2022 Report, indicated that the number of new HIV diagnoses in London has fallen by 47% from 1,673 in 2019 to 888 in 2021. Since 2015, Do It London has been promoting HIV testing and combination prevention in the capital. The reduction in diagnoses demonstrates the effectiveness of combination prevention, including increased uptake and frequency of testing, access to PrEP, knowledge of Undetectable and ongoing condom use.
Due to the importance of the messages being promoted by the campaign and the success reflected in the reduction in HIV diagnoses, London boroughs have agreed to extend the work being done by Do It London for a further 3 years, from April 2024 to March 2027.
Cllr Nesil Caliskan, London Councils’ Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adult Social Care, said:
“Sexual Health Week is an opportunity to underline the vital importance of HIV prevention in London and it’s fantastic to have Joseph and Nathaniel’s support for Do It London.
So much great work is being done by London boroughs to prevent HIV in our communities, tackle the stigma surrounding having an HIV diagnosis and ensure diagnoses occur at the earliest possible stage. This is having a significant impact – between 2015 and 2021 new diagnoses in London fell by 66%. In 2021 alone, new HIV diagnoses in London fell by 7%.
“I’m also pleased that London boroughs have renewed their collective commitment to reducing HIV by supporting the London HIV Prevention Programme for the next three years, ensuring that London continues to be a world leader in HIV prevention.
While I’m proud of what we have achieved so far, we still have a lot to do to achieve our ambition of ending all new HIV diagnoses by 2030. We will continue our efforts through joint working with boroughs, VCS partners, UKHSA, the NHS and the GLA.”
Be sure, know the Four
Do It London’s Be Sure: Know the Four campaign highlights four known, easy to access ways to prevent HIV and detail about how HIV testing, condom use, PrEP, and U=U work.
PrEP is a freely available medicine that can prevent the risk of infection through sex – but HIV testing is essential before getting a prescription. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) endorse combination prevention as the best strategy to prevent HIV. But late diagnoses mean patients are late to start treatment – so more testing is vital.