Common Ambition Bristol

Improving HIV and sexual health services for people of African and Caribbean heritage in Bristol

Common Ambition Bristol (CAB) is a major 3- year community powered project led by Brigstowe and African Voices Forum working with the African and Caribbean heritage communities in Bristol to reduce HIV diagnosis, stigma and generally improve sexual health. 

This is a huge co-production project which includes health care professionals from Unity Sexual Health and the public health team from Bristol City Council to introduce new ways to improve HIV testing and broader sexual health services; as well as researchers from the University of Bristol working in collaboration with community members to evaluate the project. 

Why Bristol?  

In Bristol, 2.7 people out of 1,000 aged between 15 and 59 are living with HIV. The rate has been steadily increasing since 2011 and is higher than the average for England (2.4 per 1,000 people).There are a disproportionate number of people of African and Caribbean heritage in Bristol who are: 

1) Unaware they are HIV positive and only diagnosed once their infection is advanced and they have become seriously ill 

2) Unaware they are HIV positive and are at greater risk of passing the virus on to others through unprotected sex 

3)  Have identified problems with accessing HIV and sexual health services. 

Common Ambition Bristol aims to tackle these issues, by working in partnership with African and Caribbean communities, introducing new ways to increase HIV testing and reducing HIV stigma. 

This project will help Bristol achieve the goals set out by the Fast-Track Cities partnership which Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees signed up to in November 2019. These are to reduce new HIV transmissions in the city to zero by 2030, whilst at the same time eradicating HIV stigma. 

This project is funded by the Health Foundation, an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK. 

Where are we now?  

Work on the project is well underway!    

  • February 2021: saw the launch of the project via an online event with the Deputy Lord Mayor Carole Johnson officially declaring the project “open”. 
  • Community involvement: 6 community members, all of African and Caribbean heritage living in Bristol, have been recruited and are very much the driving force of the project. They are helping to make key decisions and support the running of the project by assisting in the creation of interventions. 
  • Evidence Review: a full systematic review has been carried out of similar initiatives to help inform the project of potential interventions to use
  • Community Consultations happened throughout August and gave us some invaluable insight into what YOU as the people of the city want from US as a project. 

What is next?  

Our community research team are now in place – 6 members of the community dedicated to evaluating our project and making sure we can evidence the work that we do for the community. 

We are now in the process of finalising and creating the projects that we will bring to the city in the coming months. 

These projects will all relate to the four main aims of Common Ambition Bristol:

Increasing HIV awareness 

Increasing testing 

Decreasing late diagnosis

Decreasing stigma 

These four aims will enable us to improve the overall sexual health of our African and Caribbean heritage communities and empower those communities to take charge of their individual health outcomes on a long-term basis. 

So now it is time to WATCH THIS SPACE! 

Keep an eye on this page and our social media channels as linked below for updates, volunteer opportunities and paid engagement work.  Let’s continue to work together to create this fantastic and impactful project for African and Caribbean Heritage communities here in Bristol.