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Our history

South African grandmothers sitting talking

The early days

Avert was founded in 1986, in the very early days of the HIV and AIDS epidemic. We were one of the first charities to give people the information they needed about HIV prevention and treatment and challenge HIV-related stigma. We sent millions of educational leaflets, posters and training guides across the UK and the world. We also gave medical research grants, including one of the first studies on HIV and its impact on women in the UK.

We launched in 1995. Our award-winning site is now one of the world’s leading online providers of HIV and AIDS information, reaching around 23,000 people every day. We are constantly developing the site to make our information more accessible, user-friendly and relevant.

Supporting civil society

In 2000, we started providing grants and technical support to local civil society organisations working in countries heavily affected by HIV. Since then we have supported more than 25 organisations working in East and Southern Africa, India and Russia. We remain committed to supporting civil society’s response to HIV. Our current partnerships are focused on Southern Africa.

Leading the way

In 2005, we continued to expand and lead the way in providing online HIV information through, producing innovative content in accessible language. This was recognised in 2005, when the site won first prize at the British Medical Association Patient Information Awards. And again in 2012 when we won the prestigious Nominet Internet Award under the ‘Online Training and Education’ category, in association with the British Library.


In recent years, we started work on several new projects focused on building individuals’ knowledge to enable them to make informed choices about their sexual health. This included Young Voices, an interactive video series developed in collaboration with young people in Southern Africa, covering a range of topics on sexual health and relationships. Since launching in July 2018, the Young Voices animations have been watched over 836,500 times on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, with over 2.6 million engagements. Take a look at our current and past projects.

Community health workers’ app

We launched, Boost, a new mobile resource co-created with over 100 community health workers in Southern Africa in January 2020. Boost is designed to support community health workers with their information and knowledge needs as they work with their clients.

Trustworthy health information

In February 2021, we became an accredited member of the PIF TICK scheme, the UK-wide quality mark for health information. We are also an accredited Google News provider.

To see more about our history and the history of the HIV epidemic, check out our HIV timeline.


Photo credit: ©Corrie Wingate for Avert. Images used on this site are for illustrative purposes only. They do not imply any health status or behaviour on the part of the people in the photo.

Last updated:
02 June 2021