This summer marks our 40th anniversary, where we're paying tribute to our namesake Terry Higgins and all of those lost too soon to the HIV epidemic, as well as four decades of continual fighting for change.
We’ve seen tremendous progress around HIV including treatment and PrEP, and today we’re working towards the goal of ending new cases of HIV in the UK by 2030. This would have been unimaginable 40 years ago.
While our charity’s name is well known, few people know about the life of Terry Higgins. For our 40th anniversary, we’re working alongside our co-founders Rupert Whitaker and Martyn Butler to pay tribute to Terry and invite you to learn more about the man behind the name.
Here are some of the best watches, listens and reads about Terry’s life and legacy.
AIDS: The Unheard Tapes
In the 1980s, researchers interviewed those at the heart of the crisis. AIDS: The Unheard Tapes brings these recordings to a broadcast audience for the first time, using actors to lip-sync to them.
AIDS: The Unheard Tapes explores how pioneering medics and the LGBT+ community worked together to raise awareness, fight prejudice and ultimately find ways to treat HIV. It's a privilege to hear from our co-founders Rupert Whitaker and Martyn Butler as part of the series about Terry Higgins’ life, starting our charity and the lives which were saved.
A Positive Life
In A Positive Life, singer Sam Smith presents stories of HIV in the UK over the last four decades. They hear from people who remember the earliest years of the AIDS crisis; the grassroots activists and marginalised communities who came together to fight stigma and raise public awareness; and a new generation living with effective treatments for HIV in a radically changed world.
Sam begins the series with the story of Terry Higgins, exploring his early life as a young gay man in Wales, to his time in 1970s and 1980s London. Sam learns from some of Terry's closest friends and loved ones about his remarkable character and approach to life - including Rupert Whitaker, Terry's partner at the time of his death, and fellow Welshman Martyn Butler, who would subsequently found Terrence Higgins Trust with Rupert and others.
The Legacy of Terry Higgins
For Virgin Radio Pride, actor, writer and activist, Nathaniel J Hall tells the story of Terry Higgins - his life, death and legacy. The Legacy of Terry Higgins explores how Terry’s death led to something extraordinary. His partner and friends created Terrence Higgins Trust in his name to provide support for people living with HIV, fundraise, and relentlessly lobby the Government.
Nathaniel also hears from people who are living with HIV as they share their experiences, as well as the progress we’ve made around HIV four decades since Terry’s death.
Remembering Terrence “Terry” Higgins
When Terry Higgins applied to join Hansard half a century ago, homophobia was still rife and Parliament was no exception. Forty years on, his friend and colleague Vanessa Clarke remembers working with him for the House Mag.
Speaking about Terry, Vanessa said: 'He was a lovely bloke and we had some fantastic times together, both in Parliament and outside. Generous to a fault – he would give his shirt to anyone who needed it, and to his friends he would give not just his heart but his soul as well.'
Interviews with Martyn Butler and Rupert Whitaker
In this special article with the Guardian for our 40th anniversary, you're invited to get to know our namesake’s life and legacy from two of the people who knew him best — our co-founders Rupert Whitaker and Martyn Butler.
Terry's partner Rupert and their friend Martyn founded Terrence Higgins Trust as a response to the emerging epidemic and provided vital support and advice at a time when misinformation was rife and the media and government were stoking fear and stigma. Reflecting on how Terry impacted his life, Rupert said: 'He taught me that there was love and affection and safety and great sex and fun – that it all existed'. Martyn added: 'Terry gave me the sense that it was OK to stand your ground. He made me grow up, and held my hand as I did it.'
In this exclusive interview with the Mirror, Martyn Butler reflects on his memories of Terry Higgins and how the charity has saved countless lives. 40 years ago, the death of Terry Higgins changed Martyn’s life and the course of history, as it inspired the creation of Terrence Higgins Trust, the first charity in the UK to be set up in response to the HIV epidemic.