It Starts With Me: real people, real stories

Today is the launch of the refreshed It Starts With Me campaign. The campaign champions strong individuals who are playing their part in stopping HIV: whether someone is HIV positive, negative or making the decision to test for the first time. They are doing something and have embraced the ‘It Starts With Me’ spirit.

Meet two of our campaign volunteers

Adam, 29, is excited to be part of the campaign and promote the message that there is no need to be afraid of HIV.

‘I’m not HIV positive but I know people who are living normally thanks to the treatment they take. I found out from them and my own research how much HIV has changed and that it’s treatable’ he said.

‘I think the main reason people shouldn’t be scared to get tested is because knowing you’ve got HIV is better than not knowing – at least that way you can get treated – and you are actually safer with someone who has HIV and is undetectable on treatment, than someone whose status you don’t know. I play my part in stopping the stigma around HIV by openly talking about it and regular check-ups. I’m proud that I know my status.'


Nana, 34, also cares deeply about taking action to stop HIV.

‘I’m very passionate about HIV prevention because I feel a duty to my community to do it. We can stop HIV if we all make the small personal commitment to get tested regularly.

‘It’s simple - if people get tested and are positive; they get help, they get treatment. If they test and are negative, they seek to remain negative. That’s just about it.’

What does he do to help stop HIV? ‘I get tested regularly because I know the facts about HIV. I’m standing up and making a difference.’


How can I get involved?

All organisations engaged in HIV prevention can order free It Starts With Me resources to support their work, including outreach and community events.

Some of the resources available to order include wallet leaflets, posters, booklets, stickers and display stands. Resources may be ordered free of charge.

For enquiries about campaign resources and further information please email [email protected].

Visit the new It Starts With Me website

Order resources

Launch date of the new look It Starts With Me Campaign

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]

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].

Local Activation Partner applications open today

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 [email protected] to receive the application pack.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 10 August 2016.

National HIV Testing Week 2016

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.