It soon became clear, however, that simply offering the test was not enough: many patients refused a test even when given the opportunity. The reason was simple: stigma. Saving Lives therefore exists to educate everyone about HIV. There is still a belief that the virus affects only certain types of people, and a prejudice continues to surround those who live with HIV. If we are to improve testing take-up, this has to change.
Over the years, we have worked with NHS organisations across the UK, grassroots groups in countries as diverse as China and Swaziland, and with sporting and other celebrities in order to communicate a simple message: getting tested for HIV can save your life.
We have focused on mass media activity that can reach wide audiences in ways traditional public health messaging cannot. Our campaigns hav been featured across the BBC, in The Sun and the The Daily Express, and many more.
Most recently, we have launched a postal testing service to the NHS, FreeTestUK, and another offering high-quality postal testing kits to the consumer, TakeATestUK.