Health, LGBTQ+

A Brief History of HIV in the UK

Published on 27 Sep 2022

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that affects and weakens the immune system. It was first identified in the 1980s, despite it having existed for decades by then. Over the past 40 years, UK society has seen significant developments for those living with HIV. In this video, we take a look back over a few of those key developments and how they relate to human rights.

This video is part of a week of content focussed on HIV and human rights in the UK. Read a fuller timeline of the history of HIV in the UK on our website:
And see all of this week’s content here:

In 1982, Terry Higgins was one of the first people in the UK to die of an AIDS-related illness, after collapsing on the dancefloor of popular nightclub Heaven. The syndrome would soon be known as Acquired Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). A year later the Terrence Higgins Trust was born.

In 1985, The Department of Health published its first advice on AIDS to medical practitioners. The Health Education Council produced its first literature on AIDS.

In 1995, More than 25,000 people living in the UK were living with HIV. A clinical trial called ‘Delta’ found that combining two drugs together was more effective at treating HIV than the drug previously used. The ‘It’s Not Over campaign’ was launched, calling for availability for the new treatment.

In 2005, new HIV diagnoses peaked in the UK and have been declining ever since.

In 2010, The Equality Act came into effect in the UK, making indirect discrimination unlawful and ending employers asking pre-employment health-related questions to people living with HIV.

In 2020, the drug PrEP, which reduces your chances of getting HIV, became available free and uncapped on the NHS

In 2021, It’s a Sin was released, sparking new conversations around the UK about the realities of living with HIV/AIDS


EachOther is a UK-focused charity that uses independent journalism, story-telling and film-making to put the human into human rights. The digital content we produce is grounded in the lived experience of ordinary people affected by human rights issues. We involve them in the process of developing their stories, rather than talking for or over them. Theirs are the voices we platform and amplify to our lay audience of over a million viewers each year. In this way, we hope to grow public support for human rights here in the UK.

Visit our website:
Follow us on Twitter:
Like us on Facebook:
Follow us on Instagram:
Connect with us on LinkedIn:

Tell us how...