As we navigate new ways to deliver care and support through online services, it’s important to ensure the safety and security of people accessing these services, especially where their personal information is concerned.
The following information provides some guidance for people working in HIV and sexual health organisations who are currently delivering services through popular webinar, virtual meeting and video conferencing platforms.
Platforms and applications
Zoom has become the video conferencing platform of choice for most organisations and the majority of information herein will refer to this application. However, there are alternatives available:
Suitable for work with service users
Google Duo provides video conferencing for up to 12 people and is available via web and mobile devices. Video and audio calls are end-to-end encrypted.
Webex is a popular video conferencing and webinar platform already used by many businesses. Video calling supports end-to-end encryption.
GoToMeeting provides a similar service and includes end-to-end encryption as standard. There are no free plans.
Suitable for work with teams and colleagues
Microsoft Teams is a ‘full-package’ collaborating tool which is one of the most comprehensive options available; with good security features and streamlined synchronisation with other Microsoft Office applications. However, it can be complicated and clunky compared to Zoom, which is simple and straightforward to use, or other options.
There has been noticeable media attention relating to ‘zoombombs’ in which uninvited trolls enter meetings and disrupt them by talking over meeting hosts or sharing undesirable content via video or screen share options.
There are some simple steps to avoid this practice:
Do not share Zoom meeting numbers publically, send the joining information in private emails to registered attendees.
Create a new meeting ID for each event or meeting rather than using your own personal meeting ID.
Create a password for your meeting, and never share this publicly.
Enable a waiting room (see advanced options), this will allow you to block anyone from joining who you were not expecting.
As a meeting host you can decide whether you want to give all meeting attendees the option of sharing their screens.
Once all of your attendees have arrived you can lock meetings to prevent anyone else from joining.
Hosts can record audio and video from meetings and capture the chat function via meeting reports, including private 1-2-1 conversations between attendees.
Hosts should advise people in advance if they intend to record and share webinars and other educational meetings.
Avoid discussing confidential matters with other attendees if you do not want the information shared with the meeting organiser.
If you are concerned about the security and privacy in relation to providing services where personal information may be shared (for example online counselling), read more about Zoom’s security features and specific information regarding encryption for meetings.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has created the biggest public health challenge in living memory. As the NHS continues to respond to the pandemic, the HIV and sexual health sector has adapted quickly to continue to support the populations it serves.
Our health systems and services delivered by the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector are finding new ways to deliver care and support by telephone, online and via their communication channels.
The following information provides sector guidelines for people working in HIV and sexual health, including resources for communities in response to the challenges coronavirus have presented.
The PaSH Partnership (BHA for Equality, George House Trust, and LGBT Foundation) have launched a new campaign which aims to end new cases of HIV in Greater Manchester.
Launched at the HIV Commission Hearing Session on 13 February 2020, the HIV: Let’s sort this together campaign is part of the first phase towards Greater Manchester’s ambition of ending all new cases of HIV within a generation by reducing transmissions, late HIV diagnoses, and eventually new diagnoses of HIV. This is an important part of the Greater Manchester Population Health Plan for residents to have the best start in life, and to live and age well.
The campaign motivates residents of Greater Manchester to take charge of their sexual health and plan a safer, more enjoyable sex life in a number of ways:
TEST: Encourage residents to test regularly for HIV by providing information on how and where to test.
MANAGE: Advise those who test positive for HIV how to manage their HIV treatment and receive the support they need to reach undetectable and, therefore, untransmittable viral levels (U=U).
PREVENT: Inform and encourage methods such as PEP, PrEP, and condoms and lube.
HPE organises a conference to bring together professionals working in HIV prevention and sexual health in England, as well as other key figures and influencers in the field of HIV. The 2020 conference took place on Tuesday 18 February in central London.