Date Published: 21 July 2010
1 in 7 gay men on the London gay scene has HIV, highlights new THT campaign
In a bid to remind gay men in London of the risks of unprotected sex, HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) is launching a campaign around the statistic that 1 in 7 gay men on the capital’s gay scene has HIV. Of a recent sample of 1,251 men in gay bars, clubs and saunas, 15.2% were found to have HIV. This is markedly higher than Health Protection Agency estimates for gay men in London in general, and suggests a higher HIV prevalence among men who are regularly out on the scene.
Funded through the Pan London HIV Prevention Programme, the campaign features an iconic symbol of London, the red Routemaster bus, with the ‘1 in 7’ statistic displayed in the destination panel on the front. It will run as adverts in London gay magazines, on Gaydar, and as posters in gay bars, saunas, and NHS sexual health clinics. The campaign will run for twelve weeks from the end of July 2010.
Alan Wardle, Head of Health Promotion at Terrence Higgins Trust, said:
“ Men who have seen the campaign in focus groups have been genuinely shocked by the ‘1 in 7’ figure. Yet the reality is that, after Brighton, London has the highest HIV prevalence of any city in the UK.
Many gay men wrongly believe that you can tell someone’s HIV status by what they look like, how they act, or who they’re friends with. But you can’t tell whether someone has HIV by looking at them, and with a quarter of gay men who have HIV currently undiagnosed, he may not even know himself.
The assumption that HIV is visible is almost certainly affecting whether men use condoms or not. 47% of gay men surveyed reported having unprotected anal sex with at least one partner, and a quarter reported doing this with more than one casual partner. With this in mind, it’s vital this campaign reminds men that the best way to protect themselves and others is to use condoms.”
Source: Terrence Higgins Trust (THT)