PHPES offers public health practitioners working in any sector an exciting opportunity to work in partnership with an SPHR research team to evaluate innovative projects or initiatives they are delivering.
Recent data from Public Health England has shown that almost half of all HIV diagnoses in the UK are in London. The people most at risk are men who have sex with men (MSM) and black African men and women.
In 2013, the leaders of all 33 London boroughs recognised the need for an HIV prevention programme for Londoners. The London-wide HIV Prevention Programme (LHPP) was established to encourage people to get tested for HIV, use condoms regularly and practice safe sex. The Do It London campaign was developed as part the programme.
Researchers at UCL and Public Health England worked together to investigate the impact of the Do It London campaign and looked at whether the programme was achieving its goals. They used a range of research methods, including surveys and focus groups with MSM and black Africans in London, interviews with people responsible for delivering and funding the programme, analysis of HIV testing data from sexual health clinics and GP practices in London, and an examination of London’s HIV self-testing and self-sampling programmes.
Researchers found the most popular place to get an HIV test is the sexual health clinic, followed by the GP. More than two thirds of MSM said they had been tested for HIV in the past year. Black African men were less likely than black African women to have had an HIV test in the past year (26% vs 35%).
The campaign does not use images of people to avoid stereotyping and stigmatisation but the focus groups found this rather impersonal. However, data from sexual health clinics showed that more black Africans had an HIV test after the Do It London testing campaign in 2015 – although this effect was not found for MSM. In addition, one quarter of MSM and two fifths of black Africans surveyed recognised the advertising from the campaign. About half those who recognised it said the campaign had influenced their behaviour and the focus groups suggested that Do It London may raise awareness and contribute to the process of getting tested for HIV.
The LHPP was operating effectively in the face of funding cuts and the value of a programme for London was recognised.
SPHR final report: London HIV Prevention Programme
This collaborative research was undertaken as part of the SPHR Public Health Practice Evaluation Scheme (PHPES):
SPHR project poster: London HIV Prevention Programme evaluation