|Founded 1982 (1982)||Area served United Kingdom|
|Type Charitable organisation|
Registration no. England and Wales: 288527 Scotland: SC039986
Focus HIV and Sexual health, Health policy
Location 314-320, Gray's Inn Road, London, WC1X 8DP
Terrence Higgins Trust is a British charity that campaigns on various issues related to AIDS and HIV. In particular, the charity aims to reduce the spread of HIV and promote good sexual health (including safe sex); to provide services on a national and local level to people with, affected by, or at risk of contracting HIV; and to campaign for greater public understanding of the impact of HIV and AIDS.
The Trust was the first charity in the UK to be set up in response to HIV, having been established in 1982. It was initially named Terry Higgins Trust. Terry Higgins died aged 37 on 4 July 1982 in St Thomas' Hospital, London. He was among the first people in the UK known to have died from the AIDS virus, which was only identified the previous year. Terry's close friend Martyn Butler, Tony Calvert and Terry's partner Rupert Whitaker, and other friends started the Trust to raise funds for research as a way of preventing suffering due to AIDS. Shortly, with the generation of a groundswell of support for the organisation at a meeting at Red Lion Square, Tony Whitehead and others joined the group and formally founded the organisation and saw it through registration as a charity to provide direct services to those affected by HIV.
The trust was named after Terry to personalise and humanise the issue of AIDS. It was formalized in August 1983 when it adopted a constitution and opened a bank account, and the name of the trust was changed (Terrence rather than Terry) to sound more formal. It incorporated as a limited company in November 1983 and gained charitable status in January 1984.
The Trust is generally considered the UK's leading HIV and AIDS charity, and the largest in Europe. It is also the lead organisation in the English gay men's health promotion partnership CHAPS.
The charity received almost a million pounds in donations over the Christmas of 1991, with the proceeds of Queen's re-released chart-topper Bohemian Rhapsody going entirely to the charity, following the recent AIDS-related death of lead singer Freddie Mercury. After being diagnosed as HIV positive in 1987, Mercury had been concerned that financial support should be available to those less fortunate than himself.
Lisa Power, former corporate head of policy at the Terrence Higgins Trust, denounced the views of Pope Benedict XVI on the use of condoms to prevent AIDS and said: "We deeply regret the continued misinformation around condoms, which remain the most effective way of preventing the spread of HIV.".
Activist Nick Partridge, who joined the Trust in 1985, was its chief executive until he resigned in 2013.
In August 2015 first-team players from Hull Kingston Rovers teamed up with 1980s band Erasure to record a charity version of the band's single "A Little Respect", with a third of the proceeds going to the trust.