NYAA was formed in 1980s. In those days, HIV/AIDS was a new and very frightening disease, and initially, without any effective treatment. That meant that the best that could be done was to relieve pain and symptoms as much as possible. Sadly, though, for most people with HIV, life expectancy was short. In the early 1990s, some treatments started to appear, but these were difficult to take and often had severe and unpleasant side effects. Although life could in most cases be somewhat prolonged, a lot of support and care was needed to help people to deal with the impact of the drugs as well as the impact of HIV itself.
Things changed dramatically for the better in 1996 with the advent of HAART (Highly Active AntiRetroviral Therapy), also known as Combination Therapy (cART). It was found that by taking a combination of drugs, the survival rate was much improved. Choosing the right combination of drugs for an individual could be difficult, and side effects were still severe, though improved from the early 1990s.
Today, there is a wide range of drugs to choose from, and the HAART regimens are much simpler and easier to tolerate. For many people now in the UK who are newly diagnosed and starting treatment on modern drugs in a timely fashion, the regimen is typically one or two tablets once a day, with few if any side effects. Although there still is no cure, by staying on HAART correctly, people newly diagnosed and on a good treatment regimen can expect to have near normal life expentancy.
Over the decades, then, the needs of people living with HIV have changed, and so too have the services provided by NYAA to meet those needs.