CLOSE

Terrence Higgins Trust uses cookies to improve your experience of our websites. For more information or to change the use of cookies, please click here.

test
layout element
layout element
layout element
layout element

Think

Test. Take Control.

Last October saw the first mass media activity of HIV Prevention England, the new England-wide programme for gay men and African people, funded by the Department for Health and managed by Terrence Higgins Trust. This first campaign, THIVK HIV, targets these two communities with messages about undiagnosed HIV infection and the benefits of testing.

Aims of the campaign

The aim of the campaign is to reduce the time between HIV infection and diagnosis by increasing testing levels. As a result of the intervention both populations should know undiagnosed HIV infection exists, that it affects a large number within their communities and goes unnoticed for a long period of time.

The audience is challenged to think how they may be involved in the spread of HIV, either through undiagnosed infection in themselves or their sexual partners. They are reminded that testing is free and confidential. Referral signposts online resources, including a clinic finder and risk assessment tool that advises on how soon a test is needed.

Following feedback from African health professionals, the African ad carries a different headline message to the gay men’s ad (which references the internal dialogue around HIV status already familiar to gay men). Instead ‘THIVK You Don’t Need to Test?’ was seen as better for addressing attitudes among Africans around risk. The African ad also highlights changes to treatment access.

Supporting materials promote knowledge aimed at increasing motivation to test: about the existence of rapid HIV tests and other testing services, near-normal life expectancy for those diagnosed and treated in good time, how testing protects partners from harm and how, for gay men, research shows men who test are happier with their sex lives (whatever the test result).

Target audience

Future HPE campaigns will target gay and bisexual men and African communities using different design concepts and styles. However, undiagnosed infection and testing lent themselves in this campaign to simultaneously targeting both communities with the common ‘THIVK’ concept.

Media placement predominantly targets Africans by nationality through press and web sites serving national groupings in Southern Africa (Zambians and Zimbabweans), Eastern Africa (Ugandans) and Western Africa (Nigerians). Segmented advertising targets other nationalities through using key search terms on social media sites such as Facebook. HIV prevalence and numbers of UK positive diagnoses have guided the targeting. Local delivery partners are reaching out to groups most at risk of undiagnosed infection.

Insight

The campaign was informed by research into attitudes to testing and which messages motivate testing behaviour. For Africans this includes the work of Sigma Research in its Bass Line surveys of African communities, for gay men their insight gathering into attitudes to testing, and for both groups their evaluations of community testing services.

Campaign elements

Materials produced for the campaign include:

  • Adverts in national and regional gay press and in selected lifestyle or faith-based UK African titles. 
  • Online advertising on gay dating and social media sites and on those catering for African diaspora populations (www.ukzambians.co.uk, www.newzimbabwean.com, www.nigeriansintheuk.co.uk). Ads promote National Testing Week and drive traffic to the campaign web site www.thinkHIV.org.uk. Given the niche nature of UK African media channels, advertising to Africans is chiefly via Facebook and Google, segmenting by African nations and key search words.
  • Direct messages to 30,000 members of a gay dating site. 
  • Bus advertising in London, Luton, Birmingham and Manchester on routes through neighbourhoods with significant gay and/or African populations. 
  • Web pages, clinic finder and risk assessment tool. 
  • Condom packs.
  • Wallet cards promoting five testing facts, including tailored messages for the two populations.
  • A4 posters with local delivery partner branding: gay, African and National Testing Week versions plus posters promoting local testing services.
  • T-shirts for agency staff, volunteers or venue staff during local activity.

National Testing Week

Launched to coincide with the campaign’s launch, National Testing Week runs 23 to 30 November, offering enhanced testing services across England. It is supported by its own press and online advertising (and, in Manchester, by ads on a local gay radio station). The week’s activity is promoted via a page on the THIVK website. A mail-out of posters to all GUM clinics in England prior to launch gave advance notice of testing week and the campaign.

Local delivery

Twenty-six local delivery partners across England are contracted to support the campaign through one-to-one and group-based outreach, resource distribution, community events and enhanced testing activity. A particular effort has been made to target activity at groups most at risk of undiagnosed infection (such as those with higher partner numbers).

Online

Online ads link directly to www.thinkHIV.org.uk(open in new window) where, within the Terrence Higgins Trust web site, there is a clinic finder, an incentivised HIV risk assessment tool (customised in content and presentation according to audience), testing and condom information and details of National Testing Week.

The risk assessment uses answers about sexual behaviour within the last year to deliver a recommendation around testing. ‘Green’ recommends regular (and for gay men annual) testing and is given to those reporting no or only protected vaginal or anal sex and those in relationships where partners have been monogamous since testing established they have the same HIV status. All others receive a red rating and the recommendation to test as soon as possible. On submitting an email address, all participants receive an instant detailed breakdown of their HIV risk.

Policy and lobbying

Terrence Higgins Trust and MBARC have engaged with commissioning bodies about testing and have promoted engagement with the campaign and National Testing Week to stakeholders (including HIV prevention service providers, policy makers and clinical services). Media coverage has been secured.

Measuring impact

Monitoring and evaluation, co-ordinated by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, is built in throughout HPE's work. The campaign has measurable short, medium and long term outcomes. Among activity to be measured are website visits, use of the online risk tool and clinic finder, and rapid testing carried out by local partners. Numbers of those testing annually will be compared to previous survey findings to identify changes in testing behaviour. As well as measuring local delivery activity, targets have been set for levels of recognition of the campaign. Changes in testing motivation and awareness of testing benefits will also be measured.