HIV Prevention England (HPE) is the national HIV prevention programme for England. It delivers a nationally co-ordinated programme of HIV prevention work with UK-based black African people and with gay men/men who have sex with men (MSM).
Ahead of our summer campaign, HPE has launched a new resources portal featuring an easy-to-use interface for ordering campaign materials and merchandise.
Award-winning HIV prevention leaflets, posters and other promotional materials are available to all organisations in England engaged in HIV prevention. These include GP surgeries, clinics, statutory services, colleges, universities, and community organisations.
New posters promoting ‘I can’t pass on HIV’ are now available to order from our resource portal.
Order these resources for your clinic and services and help raise awareness that people living with HIV who are on effective treatment cannot pass on the virus to someone else sexually, even if condoms are not used during sex.
Earlier this year, the Government announced a new goal to eliminate HIV in England by 2030. In order to achieve this ambitious goal, providers in the HIV and sexual health sector need to ensure services and interventions are reaching the key populations at risk of HIV. The trends in key populations have shifted since the beginning of the epidemic. This event seeks to determine what those trends are, and what the implications for service delivery may be.
Although new HIV diagnoses are in decline, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are on the rise and disproportionately affect populations also affected by HIV: gay and bisexual men, and black and minority ethnic (BAME) people. Furthermore, the sexual health of people living with HIV and those taking PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) remains an important concern for sexual health professionals.
This free event will provide information for service managers, commissioners, public health professionals, community organisation representatives and clinicians on the current key populations and sub-groups affected by HIV and STIs in England.
An incredible 98% of respondents to our National HIV Testing Week (NHTW) 2018 sector evaluation survey agreed that the campaign is a valuable addition to their HIV prevention efforts. The same percentage also agreed they will support NHTW in 2019.
The survey was disseminated to stakeholders from Monday 3 December 2018 to Monday 21 January 2019 via subscribed HPE email lists, HPE resource portal users and HPE social media accounts.
Half of respondents worked in sexual health services or HIV and sexual health community organisations, with the remainder working in local authorities, hospitals, primary care and other voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations. Views were captured from across England; 21% of respondents were London-based.
Over two-thirds of respondents agreed that NHTW 2018 increased their organisation’s capacity to impact their community and clients. Those responding to the survey advised the impact of NHTW on activities meant:
78% increased awareness of HIV testing among clients and the local community.
63% increased awareness of HIV testing among health and other professionals.
52% raised the profile and support of HIV testing through media coverage.
40% built alliances with other agencies.
37% raised the profile and support of HIV testing by engaging high-level public individuals.
NHTW provides an ideal opportunity to increase the uptake of HIV testing across clinics and in community settings. Of those responding to the survey, 63% advised they provided at least 50% more tests than during a similar period the previous month.
HPE would like to thank all respondents for taking the time to complete the survey. Your feedback will inform our campaigns during 2019.
The It Starts With Me campaign (ISWM) provides targeted HIV health promotion to men who have sex with men (MSM) and black Africans (BA).
The primary objective is to increase the level of testing among MSM and BA, reduce the rates of late diagnoses and new HIV infections, promote HIV testing, and encourage the use of condoms.
National HIV Testing Week (NHTW) is an annual event, part of the broader It Starts With Me campaign. Following the 2016 refresh of ISWM and NHTW, in 2017 NHTW was updated to communicate a clearer call to action and introduce an innovative, contemporary feel which resulted in the ‘Give HIV the finger’ creative. This relaunch occurred ahead of NHTW in November 2017.
Evaluation of the campaign was conducted by Kantar Public in December 2017, following the spike in campaign activity associated with NHTW. Two online surveys, one among each of MSM and BA, were conducted.
The evaluation found that:
Message recall had shifted from the importance of getting tested towards awareness of the ease of testing.
The 2017 campaign maintained relatability achieved in the previous campaign whilst improving stand-out and new news.
The campaign was well targeted to the core target age groups of MSM <35 and BA aged 25-45 with whom it performed better than the broader MSM and BA audiences.
Message take out is very singular, focused on the ease of testing. However, the ‘Give HIV the finger’ creative is highly effective at communicating the campaign’s core message. In MSM, it also encouraged reappraisal to believe testing is quick and easy as well as increasing the perceived urgency of testing.
The continuation of the ‘Give HIV the finger’ creative, building on the existing recognition – something which was put into action ahead of NHTW 2018.
For BA audiences, putting a greater emphasis on the importance of an annual HIV test as normal behaviour.
To increase knowledge of and confidence in HIV testing in younger MSM and, especially for those outside London, persuade them to recognise the need to test.
Positive East launched ‘Mama Says’ in November 2018. The 90-second film clip, available in six languages, is an animated tool to encourage pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake amongst communities at risk of HIV who may not be aware of HIV and PrEP. ‘Mama Says’ is specifically designed for African communities.
The piece was developed over the course of a year’s work between Positive East and members of black African communities in east London and Hertfordshire. The setting, voices, and use of language and animation, were all driven by real people’s feedback into what would encourage talk about, and uptake of, PrEP.
Throughout the project, Positive East found that levels of PrEP knowledge were generally very low, and that framing PrEP as part of HIV testing and combination prevention was one of the most important drivers of PrEP acceptability.
At the same time, community feedback indicated that although targeted messaging using HIV prevalence statistics for African communities was important in ensuring HIV was addressed, it was equally important to demonstrate that HIV does not discriminate. The use of exclusively black African faces to portray HIV risk was unhelpful, and in many cases, stigmatising, because as one respondent put it: ‘HIV don’t show dey face.’
With the video clip, Positive East has condensed one year’s work into 90 seconds worth of digital intervention. The video is open licence, and it is their hope that professionals within the sector use the tool to start conversations with their clients about PrEP.
More importantly, it is Positive East’s ambition that the video remains a shareable tool by and for members of African communities in the UK.
A community report outlining the full study behind the video will be published soon.
As the year draws to a close there is much to celebrate within the HIV sector. The UK’s achievement of reaching the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goals ahead of the 2020 target is something that we can all be proud of. We now know that in the UK:
While the fall in new HIV diagnoses is to be celebrated, challenges remain. Late diagnosis rates have remained stubbornly high at around 40% for the past five years, and in 2017 43% of people were diagnosed late.
PHE has repeated its warning that people diagnosed late face a ten-fold increased risk of short-term mortality. People diagnosed late are also more likely to experience an AIDS-defining illness at the time of their diagnosis.
Finding those who are unaware of their status becomes more difficult as the number of people – now estimated to be 8% of people living with HIV – decreases. The latest statistics outline a subtle but important shift in the prevalence of HIV. The sector must start addressing these changes by engaging people from higher prevalence countries across the globe, in addition to people of black African ethnicity. For the first time in 2018, PHE provided surveillance data on trans and non-binary people and the sector must respond to this new information for the benefit of this community.
These tasks are only achievable if the systems connected by HIV prevention efforts work together.
This year, London, Manchester and Liverpool followed in Brighton’s footsteps and signed the Fast-Track Cities declaration, committing to accelerating their local response to HIV. In future, new initiatives developed at local level will play a key role in linking with national efforts in getting to zero new HIV transmissions.
The national PrEP Impact Trial, a joint large-scale trial by NHS England and PHE has been running throughout 2018, and in September the sector welcomed the extension of participant spaces from 10,000 to 13,000. However, some gay and bisexual men who need PrEP continue to face difficulties accessing PrEP and the trial is not a long-term solution. Efforts to increase uptake in other communities who stand to benefit from PrEP need to continue as well.
The Sophia Forum and Terrence Higgins Trust also held a summit in April to launch a report on Women and HIV, Invisible No Longer. The project highlighted that despite the high rates of women affected by HIV, there fails to be a targeted response to meet their specific needs in the contexts of both prevention and support.
The It Starts With Me Spring Campaign focused on Treatment as Prevention, utilising accessible language to promote Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) with its ‘I can’t pass on HIV’ message. The global U=U campaign was galvanised further in July during AIDS 2018 with the release of the PARTNER 2 results.
During the summer, our partners took advantage of LGBT+ pride events and cultural festivals to talk to target communities about the different ways they can stop HIV.
In August, Superdrug announced that they would be the first high-street pharmacy to sell self test kits in their stores. We welcomed this news as a step to normalising HIV testing, and introducing an additional way to access testing alongside free tests available in clinics and via online services.
In a bid to increase involvement of key stakeholders in HIV prevention efforts, HPE launched our GP Engagement Strategy [PDF] with a vision to contribute to the current broad systems in place for GPs and Primary Care professionals to increase HIV testing and prevention.
HPE attended the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Annual Conference in Glasgow to promote National HIV Testing Week and worked in partnership with Sexual Health in Practice (SHIP) CIC and IWantPrEPNow to deliver an introduction to PrEP at seminars in both London and Manchester to GPs and Primary Care professionals.
Our flagship National HIV Testing Week campaign continues to bring together the sector, and once again rounded off our activities for the year. Community organisations and clinics across England held testing events and encouraged people to ‘Give HIV the Finger’, resulting in thousands testing or ordering online postal tests. We were thrilled to see so many people and organisations participating in National HIV Testing Week 2018.
We value your thoughts and feedback on National HIV Testing Week.
The fourth National HIV Prevention England Conference will be held on Wednesday 22 May 2019 in central London.
It will bring together partners in HIV prevention including sexual health commissioners, health promoters, sexual health and HIV service providers and community organisations, primary care professionals, faith and community leaders, researchers and other professionals who work in health, education or social care.
The themes that will be explored by the conference are:
Getting to zero HIV transmissions.
Social justice: addressing stigma, discrimination and inequalities.
Systems strengthening and holistic approaches to HIV prevention.
The conference will be interactive and participant-focused.
Call for abstracts
We invite you tell us about your ideas for taking part in the conference. In particular we are looking for abstracts which are relevant to the themes, well-written, original and provide significant lessons for the sector to learn from.
If you wish to give an oral presentation, a poster presentation or facilitate a workshop at the conference, you must submit the Abstract Template to tell us what you would like to present on.
Amplify the reasons for and benefits of testing. Download our social media pack which contains suggested posts and tweets, links and images for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Share or download our campaign videos on social media and your organisation’s website. Use our subtitled versions on your screens in clinics and surgeries.
Thank you to everyone supporting this year’s campaign and good luck to everyone hosting testing events next week.
Please email email@example.com if you require more information and support.
National HIV self-sampling service
In support of National HIV Testing Week 2018, Public Health England (PHE) have once again expanded availability of free HIV postal test kits to all areas of England.
The scheme is funded to support people from communities which experience a higher prevalence of HIV. These include gay and bisexual men, black African men and women, and individuals who have a partner from a high prevalence country.
The additional tests are available to order from now until Monday 7 January 2019.