Dr Rosemary Gillespie has been announced as the new CEO of Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), Britain’s largest sexual health and HIV charity.

She joins THT from the role of chief executive of international HIV awareness charity AVERT. Her previous roles have included deputy chief executive and director of policy and research for Breast Cancer Care, and chief executive of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.

Dr Gillespie said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as chief executive of this outstanding and iconic charity. I look forward to working with staff and volunteers in the next phase of development, growth and innovation, as we face new challenges in the fields of HIV and sexual health, and continuing attempts to eradicate prejudice and discrimination.”

Professor Chris Bones, chair of trustees at THT, said: “The trustees are delighted to have secured Dr Gillespie as the new CEO. She brings a remarkable combination of clinical practice, health management and charity leadership at a critical time for our development. No organisation can stay still in the current economic climate and Dr Gillespie’s track record of successful change and innovation across a number of sectors will help us meet the challenges ahead in both HIV and the wider area of sexual health.”

After almost thirty years with THT, Sir Nick Partridge stepped down from his role as chief executive in November.

Dr Gillespie will begin her role on Tuesday 1 April. Paul Ward will remain as acting-CEO until then.

Figures released in November by Public Health England showed HIV infections among gay and bisexual men at a record high.

3,250 gay and bisexual men were diagnosed with HIV in 2012, the highest annual figure since the start of the epidemic.