UK: Making business the frontline in the fight against HIV

In the UK, HIV represents one of the most serious health conditions; there are an estimated 107,800 people living with HIV, one quarter of whom are estimated to be unaware of their infection. The main routes of transmission vary, but infection rates remain stubbornly and disproportionately higher in some key populations such as men who have sex with men, migrant populations, injecting drug users and sex workers.

One way to reach those who either don’t want to or don’t feel able to use sexual health clinics is to deliver services where those who need them are--creating opportunities for healthier “settings”, or more supportive environments for health. A bar, club, or sauna can be developed into a healthy place to reach target populations.

In recent projects business owners successfully engaged with HIV prevention and other health promotion interventions. They provided customers with access to condoms and lubricants, HIV/STI information on prevention and treatment, and offered HIV/STI testing. In some cases, business owners went even further. Important changes were made to workplace policies to support HIV issues. Staff got sexual health training so they were better able to support customers, while staff and clients were assured non-disclosure and non-discrimination through supportive policies and practices. Read more via The Conversation