April 26, 2013
A new campaign launched by HIV Prevention, England, (HPE) contends that gay and bisexual men have the power to stop the spread of HIV in their community within a generation. The campaign, called "It Starts With Me," was created by Terrence Higgins Trust and funded by the Department of Health. It will reach the target audience through the press, online advertisements, and posters in gay venues and will be rolled out across the country through a network of national and regional organizations, funded by HPE to promote the campaign in local communities. The campaign will continue until spring 2015, making it the largest HIV prevention campaign to target gay men in the country so far.
"It Starts With Me" will rotate between various health messages providing men with information and advice on protecting themselves and their partners from HIV. The basic message is that every sexually active gay and bisexual man in England can help stop the HIV epidemic by practicing the following: testing for HIV at least once every twelve months and more often if they have taken a risk or show symptoms of the disease; adhering to treatment if diagnosed with HIV; protecting themselves during sex by using condoms and finding other ways to avoid risk; participating in community action by supporting the campaign and spreading the word to friends and contacts.
Gay and bisexual men are invited to sign up with the campaign at www.StartsWithMe.org.uk. They can assess their sex life to determine when they should have their next test, find the nearest testing facility to take a test, and order a free HIV postal testing kit. There will also be a dedicated Facebook page where individuals can participate in conversation and share stories and online resources. Individuals are encouraged to champion the campaign by sharing Facebook posts, tweeting stories, and spreading the word among their local communities. There will be a Facebook group at www.facebook.com/startswithme and Twitter feed at @startswith_me.