NHS Choices weekly website report – week 29

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Could cows be the clue that leads to an HIV vaccine?

Cows in the countryside

This week’s NHS Choices website weekly report covers the period July 17-23 2017, which saw 10.1 million visits to the site. This was a 0.40% decrease on the previous week and a 4.12% decrease compared with the same period last year. Unique visitors totalled 7.39 million.

NHS Choices visits 2016 vs 2017

Top 10 site area visits

Within Treatments and Conditions, there are a number of guides providing in-depth information on topics such as ‘pregnancy and baby’; ‘contraception’; ‘vaccinations’; ‘stress, anxiety and depression’; and a guide for ‘care and support’. Guides accounted for 9.58% of all site visits in week 29.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC): The ‘European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)’ page ranked as the third-most-visited page on NHS Choices during week 29, seeing visits go up by 7% to 181,271. Related common health questions were also of interest, with ‘How do I get an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card)?’ seeing a 9% increase in traffic, while visits to ‘What do I do if I lose my EHIC or it gets stolen?’ totalled almost 5,000.

Genital herpes: News that the singer Usher had allegedly been involved in a lawsuit for infecting an ex-lover with genital herpes led to increased interest in the condition. Visits to the ‘Genital herpes introduction’ page rose by 52% to 19,561, and the ‘symptoms’ page saw a 74% rise to total 13,825. Visits were highest on July 20 – the day the story was covered in the press – with visits to the ‘introduction’ page accounting for 27% of the weekly total. 

Change4Life: The launch of the new Change4Life website and promotion of the 10 Minute Shake Ups campaign led to more traffic to the site. Visits to the ‘10 Minute Shake Ups’ page totalled 34,183, with the most popular shake up being ‘Judy Hopps’ Training Test’, which saw an 802% increase to 5,256. As well as more visits to the new homepage, there were also more visits to other popular areas on Change4Life, with the ‘Recipes hub’ page seeing visits go up by 129% to 12,586 and the ‘Activities’ page jumping by 530% to 8,236.

Top 10 search engine referral phrases: The top 10 terms remained the same this week but ranked in a slightly different order.


Necrotising fasciitis: There was a 372% increase in visits to the ‘Necrotising fasciitis’ page after two news stories about the condition were published. Rhys Pritchard was diagnosed with the condition after falling and cutting his head, and Katie Widdowson died after contracting the bacterial infection through a cut on her wrist. Weekly visits to the ‘Necrotising fasciitis’ page totalled 7,242, with visits on July 23 accounting for 81% of the weekly total.

Suicide: Visits to suicide-related pages saw an increase after it was announced that Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington had taken his own life. Following his death, Linkin Park set up a tribute website to the singer that featured suicide-prevention information. Visits to the ‘Getting help if you’re feeling suicidal’ page saw the biggest increase, going up by 164% to total 7,076, while visits to the ‘Warning signs of suicide’ page rose by 34% to 2,403. Visits to the ‘Suicide’ page totalled 3,715.

HIV: A Behind the Headlines article titled ‘Could cows be the clue that leads to an HIV vaccine?’ proved popular during week 29, with visits totalling 8,666. The article examined a BBC News report looking at a study that may help scientists work out if immune proteins made in cows could potentially be used to protect humans against a range of HIV strains.

Top 10 videos: Video views, including those on the NHS Choices YouTube channel, totalled 119,632, a 1.35% decrease compared with the previous week. The ‘Pilates’ video was top with 4,184 views.

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