ISWM_2016_initial_briefing 218x300We’re pleased to be able to announce that the new look It Starts With Me campaign will launch on 20 September 2016.

Since 2013, the national campaign has used social marketing, local engagement and policy work to increase HIV prevention knowledge and behaviours – including testing and condom use – in the nation’s most at-risk groups. The recent evaluation by TNS-Global revealed that while successful, there are more opportunities for the campaign to have greater impact. We hope to incorporate the evaluation feedback into the refreshed campaign.

The campaign aims to provide clear, consistent messages and activities across the country. These will seek to encourage individual responsibility, increase HIV testing and preventative behaviours and improve HIV knowledge.

The key elements of the campaign include video, advertising and provision of HIV prevention resources. Video, digital and print media will effectively promote messages of accessibility and acceptability of testing.

Find out more from our briefing document [PDF]


Cover of TNS reportSocial research company TNS-BMRB has published their report of the survey they conducted at the end of 2015 on the ‘It Starts With Me’ campaign, including National HIV Testing Week. The report was commissioned by Public Health England.

Two surveys were carried out online: one for gay/bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM); and one for men and women from Black African (BA) communities.

The results revealed that campaign recognition was high, with 84 per cent of MSM and 75 per cent of BAs recognising some element of the campaign.

The survey showed the campaign was successful in improving HIV-related knowledge and attitudes: two-thirds of MSM respondents and three-quarters of BAs realised how quick and easy testing is, thanks to the campaign. In addition, many (78 per cent MSM, 76 per cent BA) agreed that the ads made them think it’s normal to get tested for HIV.

Around half of MSM (47 per cent) and two fifths of BA (39 per cent) who were shown the ads stated that they encouraged them to get tested. In terms of actions, 35 per cent of MSM and 23 per cent of BAs who saw the campaign took steps to get tested.

The ads also motivated safer sex behaviours, with around a quarter in each group reportedly encouraged to use condoms during intercourse.

Some challenges which the survey revealed were that for MSM, 14 per cent had never had an HIV test, and 12 per cent did not know where to get tested. For Black African respondents, 23 per cent had never had a test and 12 per cent did not know where to get one.

Read the full report [PDF].


Applications to become a Local Activation Partner (LAP) for the HPE programme open today – 13 July 2016. LAPs will provide local activity to support the It Starts With Me campaign and National HIV Testing Week.

The activity will target men who have sex with men (MSM) and Black African (BA) communities.

The activity will fall into two categories:

  1. Face-to-face/outreach interventions.
  2. Point-of-care HIV testing.

Applications will be accepted from voluntary sector organisations in England. In areas where there is not a voluntary sector organisation, applications will be considered from statutory service providers.

Please email hpe@tht.org.uk to receive the application pack.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 10 August 2016.

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National HIV Testing Week (NHTW) 2016 will start on Saturday 19 November 2016.

NHTW 2016 will be the fifth annual testing week to promote HIV testing to gay and bisexual men and black African men and women.

Last year hundreds of organisations participated by raising awareness, providing extra testing opportunities and promoting services - with many using the free NHTW resources. HIV Prevention England welcomes the participation of any organisation whose work reaches England’s key populations affected by HIV.

More information on NHTW.


HPE funded Sigma Research, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, to conduct the 17th Gay Men’s Sex Survey (GMSS). The survey was community-recruited and is concerned with HIV and STI infections, sex between men, HIV prevention needs and service uptake. Over 15,000 men completed the survey and the findings have now been published.

The results [PDF] shows that whilst more gay and bisexual men than ever before are getting tested for HIV, a quarter have never had an HIV test, and a third are unsure about their HIV status.

Men’s ‘sexual happiness’ and it’s relationship with HIV infection is an issue which the report examines, and the findings indicate that men living with diagnosed HIV are no more, or less, likely to be unhappy with their sex life than men who have not tested HIV positive

As well as exploring HIV prevention opportunities, capabilities and motivations using a range of indicators about unmet prevention need, the report also looks at a number of risk and precaution behaviours related to sex and drugs, and examines data about the performance of HIV prevention interventions.