Prince Harry has asked for people to get tested for HIV in memory of his late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.
HIV has been one of Prince Harry’s key issues, and he has campaigned heavily to raise awareness and support for those with HIV. It is thought that 17% of those living with HIV do not actually realise it.
Last year, Prince Harry streamed himself getting an HIV test live on Facebook to an audience of two million people. Since then, the demand for home HIV test kits has risen by 500%. At the end of last year, Prince Harry took the test alongside Rihanna.
On the BBC documentary ‘The Truth About HIV’, the Prince requested that people get tested in memory of his late mother.
“If you’re not going to get tested for yourself, and you’re not going to go and get tested for your loved ones that you could possibly infect, then…I don’t know if it’s a selfish thing to say or not, but if you respect what my mother stood for, go and get tested for her.
“It’s 20 years next year since she died, and 30 years ago she was in this hospital (HIV clinic Mildmay), and she did something that no-one else has ever done before.”
Diana, Princess of Wales, did great work in changing the public’s attitudes to the disease. Even in 2017, the disease is often misunderstood. In the 1980s, the world was terrified of the HIV/Aids epidemic because of a lack of public understanding.
Diana shook the hand of a man with HIV. At a time when the public notion was that HIV was transferred via touch, shaking the hand of a man without a glove would have certainly challenged public opinion.
The Prince added that it was important for him as a straight man to tackle the issue in order to remove the belief that HIV was a “gay disease.”
Prince Harry said: “The issue itself needs a straight guy, mid-30s, to come in and try and normalise it. Once again, I’m fortunate enough to be in this position in order to make a difference.”
In the UK, heterosexual infections now outnumber infections in the gay community.
“If you speak to someone who’s suffering from [AIDS], of course, it’s terrifying because it can kill you, but the point I’m trying to make is, if you can’t even say the word without cringing or worrying or freaking out about it, how the hell are we going to help everybody and solve this problem before it gets too big?”