HIV charity commemorates Terry Higgins 70th birthday

June 10, 2015

Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) commemorates Terrence Higgin’s 70th birthday with launch of five centres dedicated to over 50s living with HIV.

Terry Higgins

TERRENCE “Terry” Higgins was among the first people known to die of an AIDS related illness in the UK in 1982.

To mark Terry’s 70th birthday, THT, the UK’s leading sexual health and HIV charity has rolled out a new national programme – Health Wealth and Happiness Project (HWHP) –  aimed at the one in four of those living with HIV in the UK who are over 50.

The programme is funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Silver Dreams scheme, and is available in London, Bristol, West Midlands, Brighton and Manchester.

HWHP focuses on providing support, advice, counselling and information to the first generation of people living with HIV into older age. These numbers are set to rise significantly over the next decade with 53 per cent (42, 000) of people currently living with HIV in the UK in the 35 – 49 age group.

Dr Rosemary Gillespie
Dr Rosemary Gillespie

Dr Rosemary Gillespie, Terrence Higgins Trust CEO, said:As we commemorate Terry Higgin’s 70th birthday we are reminded that people with HIV are now living into older age. “Our 50 plus research (2012) revealed that a significant proportion of older people with HIV live alone, experience poverty, and have limited family support.

“HWHP  was set up to tackle this through provisions such as debt management, one to one support, housing and benefit advice, volunteering opportunities, and complimentary therapy sessions.”

Tony Calvert
Tony Calvert

Tony Calvert, one of the original founders of THT, added: “Terry was the first of many friends I lost to HIV. He passed away at St Thomas’s Hospital, London on Sunday, July 4, 1982, 25 days after his 37th birthday. It was the decision of his friends, as a group, to set-up a charity in his name, – Terrence Higgins Trust, shortly after.

“I remember Terry with great fondness every time his birthday comes along.. Today (10th June) would have been my dear friend’s “70th birthday. I would like to say thanks Terry – for being my friend, and to the charity that carries your great name, without which programmes like HWHP would not exist.”