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HIV in the UK (and further afield)


First cases of viral immune deficiencies detected in California and New York, first cases are

gay men and injecting drug users.


The acronym AIDS is created meaning Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

Terrence Higgins is one of the first people in the UK to die of AIDS.

Terrence Higgins Trust is founded.

AIDS reported in several European countries.

Community organisations start to promote safer sex among gay men in the UK.


AIDS reported among non-drug using women and children.

Experts become confident that the cause of AIDS is infectious.

Gay men are asked to stop donating blood.


Scientists discover that AIDS is widespread in parts of Africa.

Scientists identify the virus that causes AIDS.


UK Government commits millions in funding to fight AIDS.

Screening begins on all blood intended for transfusions.

Screening for the virus that causes AIDS introduced in the UK.

The first International AIDS Conference held in Atlanta.


The acronym HIV is adopted as the name of virus that causes AIDS meaning Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

UK produce first government backed campaign ‘Don’t aid AIDS’.

‘Don’t die of ignorance’ campaign launched nationally in the UK.



AZT is the first drug approved to treat HIV; it reduces the death rate of people living with HIV but users report severe side effects.

National Aids Trust (NAT) founded.

HRH Princess Diana opens the first HIV ward in a UK hospital, raises awareness by shaking the hand of a man with HIV.


Over 1,000 people diagnosed with HIV in the UK.

UK pilots its first needle exchange.


World AIDS Day (WAD) is established on 1st December.


First HIV Awareness resources aimed at gay men are produced by the Health Education Authority.


The red ribbon becomes the international symbol of HIV Awareness.


Queen singer Freddie Mercury dies of AIDS the day after confirming he had the virus.


First combination drug therapies to suppress HIV are introduced, which prove to be more effective than AZT alone.

The Elton John AIDS Foundation established.


UK Coalition of People Living with HIV is launched.

TV comedian Kenny Everett and singer Holly Johnson both confirm that they are HIV positive.


AZT shown to reduce the risk of mother to child HIV transmission.

Director, artist and writer Derek Jarman dies of AIDS.


TV comedian Kenny Everett dies of AIDS.

Over 25,000 people are now living with HIV in the UK.


Anti-retroviral treatment PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) is recommended for health care workers exposed to HIV through accidentally being stuck with a needle or splashed in the eye with blood.

New drug combinations are shown to halt the progression of AIDS, heralding in the age of Highly

Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART) which eventually becomes known as Anti-retroviral Therapy (ART).


Trials for an HIV vaccine begin.

Deaths among people living with HIV fall dramatically following the introduction of ART.

22 million people across the world are now thought to be living with HIV.


UK government announces plans to introduce routine HIV tests to all pregnant women.

New HIV diagnoses in heterosexuals exceeds those in gay men for the first time.


World Health Organisation estimates 15-20% of new infections worldwide are from non or inadequately tested blood in blood transfusions.


Drug companies abandon their opposition to the generic production of ART.


The Global Fund is established to boost the response to HIV, TB and Malaria worldwide.


The first English conviction for the known transmission of HIV occurs but is later appealed.


PEP is recommended for people exposed to HIV from accidents, rape, occasional drug use or unsafe sex.

After 2 years of appeals and retrials a man is given a prison sentence under English law for reckless HIV transmission.

Royal Assent is given the Disability Discrimination Act giving legal protection, from the point of diagnosis, against discrimination for people living with HIV.


Over 73,000 people are now living with HIV in the UK.


The Swiss Study is labelled controversial as it claims people adhering to ART for over 6 months who have an undetectable viral load and no other infections have a negligibly small risk of transmitting HIV through unprotected sex as long as they. A concept later referred to as ‘Treatment as Prevention’.


President of the USA Barrack Obama announces the removal of the travel ban that prevents people living with HIV entering the US.


China lifts ban on travel for people living with HIV.

CAPRISA 004 microbicide is hailed as a success after results show the ART based gel reduced the risk of HIV infection by 40%.


‘Treatment as Prevention’ is hailed as ‘biggest scientific breakthrough of the year by Science Magazine. Trials show a 96% reduction in HIV transmission risk during heterosexual sex when a person is successfully responding to treatment.


FDA in America approves drug Truvada as Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) to reduce the risk of HIV transmission to HIV negative people in high risk groups.


Over 100,000 people now live with HIV in the UK.

Over 35 million people worldwide now live with HIV.

24% of people living with HIV are unaware of their status.