Southwark Council backs campaign to prevent HIV and promote testing
20 November 2017
This HIV Testing Week (18 November- 25 November), the Do It London campaign – funded by most London local authorities – is reminding Londoners that HIV is preventable, and that treatments are effective.
In Southwark, and across London, new cases of HIV are going down thanks to increases in testing and condom use, especially in men who have sex with men (MSM) as well as highly effective treatment. However, Southwark still has the second highest rate of HIV in the country, with 11.5 cases per 1,000 people aged between 15-59. It’s essential for everyone to know their status and get tested – not just those who may be at increased risk.
The Do It London campaign has four simple messages:
- Use condoms - The best way to prevent HIV is to use a condom during sex. Condoms also prevent many other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and will also help prevent you passing on an infection if you have one
- Get tested - Knowing your HIV status and that of your partner is also important. The only way to know if you have the virus is by getting tested regularly. Getting tested for HIV is free, painless, and easier than ever before. Information about the different ways you can get tested is available on the Do It London website. Early detection is key to living well with HIV. From 2014 to 2016, data highlights that 36.5 per cent of new diagnoses of HIV were made at a late stage of infection, higher than the London average. For this reason, Southwark promotes widespread HIV testing in many settings
- Use PrEP - PrEP (pre-exposure propyhlaxis) is a pill that can prevent the transmission of HIV, although it does not prevent other sexually transmitted infections
- Get treated - For people who are HIV positive, taking effective HIV treatment often leads to having an undetectable level of infection, which almost eliminates the risk of passing HIV on to others
Southwark Council, along with Lewisham Council and Lambeth Council, fund the Rise Partnership that provides targeted HIV prevention programmes and testing for at-risk groups across the three boroughs. Part of the work that Rise does is tackling the stigma that can surround HIV, and may prevent some people getting tested through community based initiatives. Residents of the three boroughs can also order a free HIV test online, from www.test.hiv
Cllr Maisie Anderson, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Social Regeneration said “In Southwark, HIV is a real issue that we continue to work hard to tackle alongside many partners in our community. Everyone should know their HIV status, both for your own health and that of your partners. HIV tests are now widely available, and free. Likewise, we need to continue to break down the stigma that can surround HIV. Nobody should be made to feel bad about having any long term health condition and stigma should certainly not be a barrier to getting tested for HIV or accessing highly effective treatment.”
The Rise Partnership will be holding a number of events from Tuesday 21 November up to World AIDS Day (1 December) across Southwark, Lambeth and Lewisham. The events will incorporate testing, outreach work and sexual health information. The Rise Partnership can be found at:
- Tuesday 21 November - UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) 32-36 Loman Street London SE1 0EH
- Wednesday 23 November - Southbank University LSBU London South Bank University Southwark Campus, Borough Road
- Thursday 24 November - Peckham Library Peckham Library, 122 Peckham Hill Street, London, SE15 5JR
Page last updated: 20 November 2017