Forty years ago, Terry Higgins became the first named person in the UK to die of an AIDS-related illness after he passed away on 4 July, 1982. Terry’s partner, Rupert Whitaker, and their friend, Martyn Butler, set up Terrence Higgins Trust in his name to humanise the epidemic at a time when hysteria was rife and share information about this new and scary virus – and to ultimately save lives. Four decades on, Terrence Higgins Trust is the UK’s leading HIV and sexual health charity.
Ian Green, Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, said:
“This year we’ve been remembering Terry Higgins four decades on from his death and celebrating all the incredible impact our charity has made in his name. Today our charity’s work is very different to 40 years ago, but people and community remain at its heart.
“You can now live a long, healthy life with HIV and effective treatment means the virus can’t be passed on to partners. But stigma and out-dated views remain prevalent – and that’s something we’re doing all we can to change by amplifying the experiences of those directly impacted through our programmes of work, as well as in the media and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.”
Earlier this year, Welsh rugby star and HIV campaigner Gareth Thomas was named this year’s Postcode Hero at the annual People’s Postcode Lottery Charity Gala. The award recognises Gareth’s impactful work to tackle HIV stigma while his £250,000 donation to Terrence Higgins Trust will help to change lives.
The charity is striving for a future where:
- There are no new HIV cases.
- People living with HIV have the support they need.
- Everyone can access good quality sexual and reproductive health services and information tailored to their individual needs.
- HIV, sexual and reproductive health are free from shame and stigma.
- Everyone in our organisation respects and values diversity, creating an environment that is inclusive of all.
The funding from People’s Postcode Lottery is already supporting four key projects – the charity’s helpline THT Direct, its hardship fund for those living with HIV and experiencing poverty, counselling and psychotherapy services, volunteering programmes and its Positive Voices project where people living with HIV tackle stigma head on by sharing their stories in schools and workplaces.
For more information about how to get involved this World AIDS Day, visit Terrence Higgins Trust’s website.