During her lifetime, Princess Diana was known as a rather prominent campaigner for HIV and AIDs, and she spent a lot of time and energy raising awareness about the disease and how it can be detected, prevented, and treated. She was also very important in breaking some of the social stigmas relating to them, such as by famously holding hands and embracing HIV positive and AIDs infected patients — a common misconception at the time was that the illness could be passed on by touch.
Now, twenty years on from her passing, her son Prince Harry of Wales is continuing on her work as he attended the Attainment Magazine Awards last Thursday. He was there to receive an award bestowed on his mother for her work relating to HIV and AIDs, and he took the opportunity to speak of her passion for the cause to the audience.
To the applause of those watching, Prince Harry said that he often wondered of what his mother would be doing for the cause of HIV and AIDs patients were she still alive today.
“I believe that she would be telling everyone across society – not just those most at risk – that with effective treatment being free and available in the UK, that we must all embrace regular testing – both for our own sake and for those that we love,” he said in his speech.”
“She would be demanding that same access to treatment and testing for young people in Africa and across the world. She would, of course, be standing alongside those who are living openly as healthy, happy and HIV-positive. William and I are incredibly proud of what our mother achieved.”
The Prince made mention of Princess Diana’s use of her position within society and the public eye to push for change on the issue, and made every effort to change people’s attitudes towards the disease and people suffering from it. In particular, she challenged people’s hostile attitude of AIDs and HIV as an expression of homophobia. The results were quick — in the year before her fatal car accident in Paris, several revolutionary anti-HIV treatments were developed. They have since become widely available within the UK and across the world, saving countless lives.
As Prince Harry finished his speech and gave thanks to Attitude for so honouring Princess Diana with their award, the magazine unveiled a new limited edition magazine cover featuring a black-and-white photograph of Princess Diana, which was taken by Patrick Demarchelier.