Prince Harry has handed out HIV self-testing kits and said it is “irresponsible” to not be tested for HIV.
The Prince is an active campaigner to end the stigma surrounding HIV. He has so far taken two tests in public, including one alongside singer Rihanna.
Earlier this week Prince Harry visited the Terrence Higgins Trust HIV testing centre in London to launch National HIV testing week. The Terrence Higgin’s trust is a UK charity that campaigns and provides service for HIV and sexual health.
The awareness week runs from the 18th to the 25th of November and hopes to increase the acceptance of HIV testing within the groups that are most affected by the virus. It wishes to remove the stigma that surrounds HIV and HIV testing.
While visiting the centre, he watched a live demonstration and met some of the volunteers who help there.
The HIV self-test kits require just a finger-prick and should be able to give results within 15 minutes. Prince Harry asked, “So the instructions are idiot proof for people like myself?”
Prince Harry helped in the centre handing out the self-testing kits at their pop-up shop.
During his visit, he met to one of the volunteers who was diagnosed with HIV in the year after using a self-test kit. Andrew Bates told the Prince he hopes to be “an advocate for HIV positive people and show the world that life doesn’t end after getting an HIV diagnosis.”
When doctors first became aware of the disease life expectancy of those with it was short. However, with the development of new medication life expectancy is “near normal.” What was once a terminal disease is now a manageable condition in what seen to be on the greatest health success stories in recent time.
Despite this, the virus still carries a lot of stigmas, and many do not get tested for it.
Prince Harry is carrying on in the footsteps of his mother, Princess Diana, who helped change attitudes to HIV and Aids. She opened the UK’s first specially built HIT/AIds unit. While there, in front of the world’s press, she shook the hand of a man who had the illness. At the time it was widely thought that the disease was transmitted via touch. A simple gesture by Princess Diana challenged the fear surrounding the virus.