New report finds high recognition of It Starts With Me and National HIV Testing Week

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].

Gay Men’s Sex Survey results

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.