Prince Harry takes HIV test during live broadcast in bid to break down stigma (VIDEO)
Prince Harry today tried to tackle stigma on HIV – by taking an HIV test himself live on air.
The Royal has repeatedly vowed to carry forward his mother’s legacy on HIV/AIDS advocacy, and took the opportunity to break down the barrier while visiting the HIV unit at London’s Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital.
He streamed the moment live via the Royal Family’s Facebook page, which has more than three million fans around the world.
A caption explained: “Prince Harry is live from Guys and St. Thomas’ Hospital on The Royal Family’s Facebook page now, showing how easy it is to get tested for HIV.”
The clip sees him discuss the ease of going through a test with a doctor, as a small blood sample is taken.
Earlier this month the fifth-in-line to the throne said he would increase his focus on the issue through his royal engagements, and has also spoken about his late mother’s work on the issue.
He said: “She started very punchy [on AIDS].
“She smashed the stigma around HIV on more than one occasion. It had a huge impact, and a huge impact on my life as well.”
Ian Green, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “Prince Harry’s decision to take an HIV test, live on social media, is a groundbreaking moment in the fight against HIV.
“Not only does it show His Royal Highness’s genuine and personal commitment to tackling the HIV epidemic, it will amplify a message to millions all over the world: testing for HIV is easy, quick and nothing to be feared.
“We have a real opportunity to end HIV transmissions in the UK, but it starts with each person knowing their HIV status.
“Too many people are either put off testing by the stigma that still surrounds HIV, or simply do not think HIV is an issue anymore.
“Today, Prince Harry has got people talking about HIV again and has normalised HIV testing to a global audience. In doing so, he could inspire a generation to take control of their sexual health.
“Thanks to treatment, testing for HIV could stop you from getting seriously ill, enable you to live a normal lifespan and prevent you from passing the virus on to anyone else. That’s why it’s so invaluable to have Prince Harry’s support as we aim to bust stigma and end the HIV epidemic.”
He told the newspaper: “I don’t consciously channel myself down certain avenues specifically because I think my mum would be proud. But she sure as hell would be proud of me, hopefully, that I’m doing it.”
The royal recently paid a visit to Mildmay – a charitable HIV hospital located in East London, that his mother had strong links with.
A spokesperson for Kensington Palace said he would continue to have a heavy focus on the issue in future.
The statement said: “Prince Harry will begin a new series of engagements and meetings designed to shine a spotlight on the ongoing need for action in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
“Building on his decade of experience in supporting young people with HIV in Lesotho through his charity Sentebale, The Prince is now determined to help his generation understand that the battle against the disease has not yet been won and still needs fighting.
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“He hopes to convene leading figures in this sector and support their vital work in ensuring that everyone – and young people in particular – get the help they deserve to lead healthy and successful lives.”
It continues: “In the UK more people are living with HIV than ever before with thousands of new people being diagnosed with the virus every year. In places like Southern Africa, HIV is the biggest killer of adolescents and represents a very real threat to the success of an entire generation.
“His Royal Highness wants to expand his own knowledge of the challenges and opportunities in the fight against the virus around the world.
“This will see him tackling topics including testing, treatment, and prevention as well as anti-stigma efforts that were famously championed by his mother Diana, Princess of Wales.
“Prince Harry believes that greater public awareness of the innovations in both testing and treatment for HIV can help save lives and he wants to do his part.”