Prince Harry continues Princess Diana’s work to end HIV stigma

By: Meaghan Wray

Like his mother, Princess Diana, Prince Harry is determined to end the stigma around HIV. The royal paid a visit to the Terrence Higgins Trust’s HIV testing centre on Wednesday (Nov. 15) to shine a light on user-friendly self-testing kits and why it’s imperative for people to get tested.

“Rather than not knowing your status and being on medication for a period of your life, or the rest of your life, rather than letting yourself get to that point where there is no return, I must stress to everyone how important it is (to get tested),” advised the prince, before asserting, “The sooner the better.”

Harry helped volunteers hand out HIV self-test kits.

The simple test requires a quick finger prick and a 15-minute wait for results. It’s so straightforward, Harry said, that even he understands the instructions. “They are idiot-proof for people like myself,” he joked, while learning how to use the test kits.

Andrew Bates, a Terrence Higgins Trust volunteer, was diagnosed with HIV last year after using a self-test kit on himself. Speaking to Harry, he expressed, “[I want] to be an advocate for HIV positive people, and show the world that life doesn’t end after getting an HIV diagnosis.”

Harry also took part in a live demonstration, just as he did last year during a visit to Barbados. While touring the Caribbean on behalf of the Queen, Harry recruited Rihanna to raise awareness for the disease on World Aids Day (Dec. 1). The duo sat side-by-side as they got their fingers pricked, before advising young people to follow their lead and get tested. “The younger generation coming through want to talk about it, but there’s still that stigma. If us getting testing normalizes it and makes a difference, even a small difference, then job well done,” Harry told reporters.

The royal learned how to use the HIV self-test kits.

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