HIV Scotland was set up as the Scottish Voluntary HIV and AIDS Forum in September 1994, a crucial stage in the development of Scotland’s response to HIV, some 12 years into the epidemic. The organisation’s establishment by leading figures in the third and HIV sectors was a response to the Scottish Office AIDS Task Force call for improved provision and coordination of services. 

HIV Scotland has played an important role in Scotland's response to HIV. As we enter our 25th year and celebrate this key milestone, it is important to pause and reflect on our contribution and successes of which there are many. Whilst looking to the future is incredibly important, it's also important to look back at our past and learn lessons from it. Here is a brief history of HIV in Scotland, and of us as an organisation.


  • Outbreak of HIV among IV drug users in Edinburgh: over 60% infected in 6 months


  • First needle exchange set up in Edinburgh


  • Methadone substitute prescribing introduced in Edinburgh


  • Dundee and Glasgow follow Edinburgh's lead and introduce needle exchanges. They open to public controversy, with video camera surveillance and violence


  • Demonstration outside the Scottish Office demanding action


  • Scottish Voluntary HIV and AIDS Forum ("The Forum") established (predecessor to HIV Scotland) 


  • Combination therapy results in first successes treating HIV, termed the Lazarus effect 


  • First national billboard campaign across Scotland to promote Healthy Gay Scotland


  • ‘Review of HIV Health Promotion Strategies’ is published, having been recommended by HIV Scotland and accepted at its AGM by health minister 


  • Kerr sets up the National Sexual Health Advisory Committee 


  • African and Minority Ethnic HIV Project set up by HIV Scotland


  • Report of national HIV treatments needs assessment: HIV Scotland, with the committee, advocates for standards development and setting up MCNs (Managed Care Networks) 
  • Discussions regarding a prevention plan with Scottish Government results in an integrated HIV Action Plan, based on the HIV Scotland recommendation from the International AIDS Conference in Mexico 
  • Establishment of African Country Associations Health Forum 


  • HIV Action Plan launched


  • Scotland's first Scottish World AIDS Day Awareness Group was formed
  • "People living with Hepatitis C and HIV their views on Welfare Reform" produced by HIV Scotland and Hepatitis Scotland


  • Scotland marks 25th anniversary of World AIDS Day, with over 50 key landmarks lighting up red


  • New home self-test kits go on sale
  • Scottish Government launch update to national HIV framework


  • First National Involvement Network Meeting 


  • PrEP is made available for use in Scotland, fully subsidised on the NHS.  
  • National Working Group on HIV Testing established, which went on to make key recommendations to the Government about how to improve HIV testing in Scotland.  
  • New blood donation rules come into effect.  
  • First Minister Nicola Sturgeon takes an HIV test in a campaign to reduce stigma. 
  • BMA MEDFASH Award for contribution to sexual health & human rights  


  • Civil Aviation Authority rule change, which now enables people living with HIV the ability to gain the necessary medical license to train as a Commercial Airline Pilot. 
  • Glasgow becomes the first city in Scotland to sign up to the global Fast-Track Cities initiative, committed to ending HIV by 2030.
  • Stigma busting book launched for World AIDS Day - Disclosures.  
  • SCVO Cracking Campaign Award winner for PrEP