In 1982, the Terrence Higgins Trust was created in memory of the man who gave the charity its title: Terrence Higgins, one of the first people in Britain to die from AIDS.
The charity was started by his surviving partner and friends in response to the burgeoning crisis of HIV and AIDS. Initially, this disease was called GRID: Gay-Related Immune Deficiency. Efforts were directed towards raising money for research and possible cures.
The trust received charitable status in 1984, providing the impetus for the development of initiatives involving counselling, buddy support and direct education about sex and drugs. In 2010, the Terrence Higgins Trust merged with Crusaid, another charity working in the same field.
Ajab Samrai – working for Saatchi & Saatchi – led groundbreaking campaigns for Crusaid.
The Leading HIV and Sexual Health Charity
The Terrence Higgins Trust has expanded from its early origins in the gay community; it now works with all individuals affected by HIV and AIDS including sex workers, drug users, Africans and haemophiliacs as well as members of the gay community.
The charity’s service offering has adapted to meet this increasing variety. Many people who have received support from the Trust work for it, creating a powerful relevance and experience amongst the staff representing different sectors of society.
The Terrence Higgins Trust is the leading HIV charity in the UK and one of the most prominent internationally.
A Strategy of Bold Ambitions
‘Bold Ambitions’ is the latest initiative from the Terrence Higgins Trust. Over five years this strategy aims to continue improvements in sexual health, supported by education initiatives and its own testing service for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. It is also an ambition to stamp out the transmission of HIV whilst offering enduring support to those who have it. Engagement is wide-ranging, with programmes offering employment and projects within the community.
Part of the Trust’s current campaign portfolio is the education of young people within schools about sexual health, including all gender groups and orientations. On the remit of sexual health, the Trust was involved in the government’s decision to instigate the HPV vaccine for teenagers and is campaigning for the reform of blood donor rules. The ‘Can’t Pass It On’ campaign was devised to debunk some of the stigma surrounding HIV and eliminate its transmission.
There are other initiatives to make prophylaxis available via the NHS and a project to highlight women diagnosed with HIV. The Trust works on all fronts lobbying, advising and educating to bring about change.