#Summerlovin A Campaign Raising Awareness For BAME Sexual Health

Black Asian and Minority Ethic people are more likely to face sexual health problems compared to the general UK population. Recent research has revealed that 4% of female sexual health clinic attendees were black African, but accounted for 42% of HIV diagnoses among female attendees. While recent reports suggest that there has been a drop in new HIV cases among men, this is not true of the BAME female population. Shockingly, 80% of women accessing HIV care are BAME.

An estimated 96 000 were living with HIV and almost 1 in 4 of them were unaware of their infection. In addition, 47% of the HIV diagnoses were made at a late stage of infection when treatment should have already begun. Higher percentages of late diagnoses are more common in black, Asian and minority ethnic communities (BAME). In order to reduce the number of undiagnosed and late-diagnosed infections in the UK, HIV testing should be available to people in a range of settings. Community services are well placed to offer this in places that are more accessible and acceptable to patients than traditional settings.

NAZ, a sexual health charity dedicated to campaigning about the shocking sexual health inequalities BAME people face, compared to the UK general population.  The charity  works to improve the sexual health experiences of BAME people by publishing and promoting research; providing counselling for people of all ethnicities, sexualities and genders; carrying out free confidential HIV testing at our offices and through outreach work; and supporting people living with HIV.

The charity provides sexual health and HIV prevention and support services to BAME communities. This summer the Charity launched #summerlovin campaign to raise awareness of STIs and HIV among BAME women in the UK

As social media has become the most powerful means of spreading a message and influencing people, this campaign can prove more effective than you may think.

On July 25th, they launched #summerlovin, a social media campaign aimed at female BAME audiences to raise awareness of this issue.

The campaign aimed to:

Highlight the disproportionate impact of STIs and HIV on BAME women

Increase awareness about the importance of testing for HIV and STIs and the different testing options available

You can help us in a number of ways:

  • Share  tweets. NAZ will be tweeting from @NAZProjectLdn, and one of their partner platforms 1000women (@_ItsOurTurn) 
  • Encourage other women to get tested by joining our campaign. Simply hold up a sign reading ‘I pledge to get tested. #summerlovin‘, either individually or as a group with your colleagues. Post the image on social media, and be sure to tag NAZ

The high HIV and STI positivity rate seen and high number of people reported to have never been seen in a sexual health clinic is of concern and a sobering reminder of the unmet need for targeted HIV testing in hard-to reach communities. Access to GUM clinics and primary care is restricted for many because of language and cultural barriers. Patients were prepared to travel across 21 different London boroughs to access the service. Trained NPL volunteers are of diverse ethnicities and come from a range of backgrounds, and have huge insight into the problems faced by these communities. They are therefore able to reach BAME at-risk individuals and to mobilise them for HIV testing in ways that traditional settings have always failed to do in the past and crucially, to provide the much needed support in encouraging individuals already known to be positive to access and remain engaged in HIV care in the country.



Khadija Ahmed

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