The organisation celebrates its legacy of speaking honestly and without a filter about sex, sexual health, HIV and AIDS.

LGBT HERO, the national health and wellbeing organisation for LGBTQ+ people, has launched an archive that celebrates the impactful legacy of its predecessor, Gay Men Fighting AIDS (GMFA). The project showcases GMFA’s well-known provocative and humorous campaigning and sexy advertisements, showcasing the 30-year history of the organisation for the first time ever.  

Founded in 1992, GMFA’s initial remit was to campaign for more targeted HIV prevention work aimed at gay men, and to raise awareness of HIV among gay men. It quickly became known for its on-the-ground, community-led activism that put the autonomy and control back into the hands of the people and communities that HIV and AIDS were directly impacting. 

Wanting to expand its mission to encompass the needs of the wider LGBTQ+ community, the charity eventually became LGBT HERO. Nonetheless, the legacy and mission of GMFA remain very much present in the organisation. LGBT HERO’s Chief Executive, Ian Howley, said:  

Over 30 years ago a group of gay men got together because they felt not enough was being done to stop gay men from dying from HIV and AIDS. The men had one goal in mind when they set up GMFA, to have a charity that was by gay men, for gay men, talking to gay men in a way they knew would work using language and images that gay men could relate to and knew it was for them. Finally gay men were seen to be leading the fight against HIV and AIDS in a way that worked. During the 90s, Gay Men Fighting AIDS produced some of the most groundbreaking, provocative, sexually explicit, sexy and stunning interventions we have ever seen. It was important for me as the CEO of LGBT HERO to capture that history in a way that celebrates just how important a movement GMFA was.

The archive contains all kinds of materials that document and celebrate over 30 years of GMFA’s revolutionary activism – from fashion to explicit and loud campaigns that promoted healthy, satisfying and enjoyable sex. It also aims to spotlight the voices and experiences of those involved with the charity over the past 30 years. Despite having retired the GMFA brand, Howley is committed to ensuring that GMFA and its impact are not forgotten: 

"Although GMFA maybe retired, it lives on with LGBT HERO and its ethos will continue with our work. LGBT HERO, a charity that supports over 100,000 LGBTQ+ people a month, will continue to develop frank and honest campaigns focused on giving LGBTQ+ people the tools to take control over their own lives. Everyone who has been involved in GMFA from the start should be very proud of what we all achieved. GMFA may be retired but its legacy will outlive us all.”

You can visit the GMFA archive at 

If you'd like to talk to someone about the archive email us on [email protected] 

This project was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and LGBT HERO would like to thank everyone who plays the National Lottery for making this possible.