Croydon Council is backing the London-wide campaign to raise awareness of the four proven ways for residents to look after their health to prevent HIV infection.
The Do It London Four Sure campaign, a collaboration between local authorities in the capital, is a determined effort to continue the encouraging recent downtrend in new HIV infections.
The campaign highlights to those groups most at risk of HIV the four sure methods of the combination prevention approach, which are:
- testing regularly for the virus
- using condoms
- using the HIV prevention medicine Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)
- for people who have been diagnosed HIV positive, achieving an “undetectable” viral load through the use of antiretroviral medication. This safeguards the health of people diagnosed with HIV and has the additional benefit of treatment acting as prevention and eliminating the risk of onwards viral transmission.
Rachel Flowers, Croydon Council’s Director for Public Health, said: “We want this campaign to support people in Croydon by reminding them of the importance of looking after their health to reduce the risk of HIV infection. Despite new diagnoses of HIV in Croydon decreasing, HIV still remains a major public health challenge. By looking after yourselves and each other, HIV should continue to fall so that we can meet the campaign’s longstanding goal of zero new infections of HIV by 2030.”
Croydon’s late diagnosis rate for HIV has been declining; 46% in 2019 compared to 58% in 2011. This is similar to the England rate (43%) but slightly higher than the London rate (38%).
The Four Sure campaign is also reminding Londoners that HIV is preventable, that an HIV diagnosis is treatable, and that treatment acts as prevention.
There are a range of free sexual and reproductive health services in Croydon, which are open to everyone. This includes the Metro charity, which is commissioned by Croydon Council to support people living with HIV and their families. Last year, the charity supported 137 adults and 119 children.
More information about these local services, which also offer advice and advocacy assessments, peer support, mentoring and counselling support, is available at www.croydon.gov.uk/sexualhealth