The Terrence Higgins Trust was initially launched in 1982 as the first UK organisation established in response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic. The charity was named for Terrence Higgins, one of the first people to die in the UK from AIDS, and it was founded by his partner and friends. At that time, the illness was still known as GRID, or Gay-Related Immune Deficiency, with the organisation focusing its efforts on raising awareness and funds so that others would not have to suffer as Higgins had. In 1984 the Trust gained charitable status and began to provide direct services, which included sex and drug education, counselling, buddying services and home help. In 2010, the Terrence Higgins Trust merged with another HIV charity, Crusaid, to help ensure the future of Crusaid’s Hardship Fund. As part of his work for Saatchi & Saatchi, advertising creative Ajab Samrai has worked to create powerful campaigns for Crusaid, highlighting the issues surrounding AIDS. Learn more about the history of Crusaid in the PDF attachment to this post.
Leading HIV and Sexual Health Charity
The Terrence Higgins Trust is one of the leading HIV and sexual health charities in Europe and the number one charity for this in the UK. The roots of the charity are in the gay community, which historically has been one of the worst-affected demographics for the transmission of HIV. However, the charity works with all individuals and families affected by the illness. While the group mostly affected are gay men, the prevalence of the illness is rising across other groups, including African people living in the UK, drug users, sex workers and haemophiliacs. New services have been developed and existing services adapted to meet these changing needs. Many of the people who work for the Trust today come from the communities it serves, with a high proportion of gay men, people from black or ethnic minority backgrounds and people living with HIV.
Bold Ambitions Strategy
Bold Ambitions is the name given to the current five-year strategy of the Terrence Higgins Trust, which aims to create a new era in the prevention of HIV and in care and sexual health. The key aims of Bold Ambitions are to improve sexual health and contribute to ending HIV transmissions and support people who are affected by or living with HIV and ensure their voices are heard. Part of the services of the Trust includes providing testing for HIV and a range of other sexually transmitted infections to promote better sexual health. The Trust also campaigns on issues such as funding for sexual health services and better education in schools, as well as running employment programmes and community projects.
In the infographic attachment, learn more about HIV prevalence in the UK.
The Terrence Higgins Trust is currently working on a number of campaigns to help promote good sexual health and to improve support for people living with HIV. This includes campaigning for better access to sex and relationship education in schools, which is age-appropriate and LGBT-inclusive. The Trust is also working to have pre-exposure prophylaxis made available across the country on the NHS and has been instrumental in the roll-out of the HPV vaccine to all young people in Britain. The “Can’t Pass It On” campaign works to end HIV transmission and put a stop to the stigma surrounding the virus. The “Invisible No Longer” report launched with Sophia Forum helps to highlight women affected by HIV, and the Trust is also campaigning for a reformation of blood donation rules.
In the short video attachment, find out more about some of the services the Trust offers.