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Tower Hamlets Council proudly supports the first London-wide HIV prevention campaign

23A unique London-wide campaign to cut HIV infection across the capital is being supported by Tower Hamlets Council.

‘Do It London’ is the public face of the London HIV Prevention Programme (LHPP) which promotes people, especially from black African backgrounds or gay and bisexual men, to regularly test for HIV and protect themselves from HIV and sexually transmitted infections by using condoms. This £3.4 million three-year programme of safer sex promotion, condom distribution and outreach is funded by London Councils which represents the 32 London boroughs and the City of London.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said: “The best way to know if you have HIV is to have a safe, free and confidential test. The sooner you find out, the better, as you have access to the best NHS treatment and care.”

Posters and leaflets with the distinctive “Do it London” message are being distributed across London and will be sent to all GP practices and community pharmacists locally.

London has the highest number of people living with HIV in England; research shows there are 33,863 Londoners diagnosed with HIV.

In Tower Hamlets there are approximately 1,300 people living with HIV, of which 123 were newly diagnosed in 2013. There are thought to be an additional 400 people living in the borough infected with HIV, who have not yet been diagnosed.

Dr Somen Banerjee, director of Tower Hamlets Council public health said: “I encourage people to have an HIV test as the earlier HIV is diagnosed, the more likely treatment will be successful.

“Getting tested at least once a year or more often if you are very sexually active as well as practising safer sex are both  important in preventing HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections. Testing for HIV is free, confidential and very straightforward; you can arrange for an HIV test at your local GP practice or attend a specialist sexual health service at any GUM service throughout London.”

Paul Steinberg, LHPP Programme Commissioner, said: “This campaign demonstrates the value of using shared resources to aim to improve public health across London.

“The message is clear: regular HIV testing should be a part of looking after your health, especially for those most at risk. Earlier diagnosis will help reduce new infections in London and enable people to access treatment.”

Positive East, London’s largest community-based HIV charity, will be providing free HIV testing sessions. You can get your results in minutes and testing is completely confidential.