1982 Following laws in England, Wales and Scotland. The Homosexual Offences Order decriminalises sex between two men over the age of 21 ‘in private’ in Northern Ireland.
Terry Higgins died of AIDS in St. Thomas’ Hospital, one of the first people to be identified as having AIDS in the UK, which had only been formerly identified as a disease the previous year. His bereaved friends and partner set up the Terry Higgins Trust (which changed name to the Terrence Higgins Trust to sound more formal), which became the UK’s first charity focussing on AIDS, HIV and safer sex.
1983 Amid the hysteria of the AIDS crisis the CDC highlighted which groups were affected, including Men who have sex with men, amongst others, and resulted in being persecuted as fear of the disease spreads. The following extract from a New York government report sums up the reactions of the time.
1983 By January 7, 1983, all of the major routes of transmission had been identified and reported by the CDC.1-5, 8-11 Transfusion-associated infections, and infections among children, led to heightened public concern. As the epidemic advanced, fear, ignorance, prejudice, homophobia, cultural stereotypes and racism were pervasive and stigmatized not only those who were infected
but also those who were believed to be infected, most specifically members of groups identified by the CDC as being at highest risk: homosexual men, Haitians, intravenous drug users and
hemophiliacs. Among the consequences were: social isolation; discrimination; loss of employment; prohibitions against blood donation; denial of medical care; and lack of access to services.