In an effort to destigmatize HIV testing, Prince Harry took a test live on Facebook today at a local hospital in London.
Just ten minutes before he was scheduled to arrive at Guys and St. Thomas’ Hospital, the Royal Family posted that the 31-year-old prince would be taking the test and that the event would be broadcast live on the family’s page.
In the video, Harry is seated with psychotherapist Robert Palmer, who walked the prince through the procedure and explained the ease of the finger-prick test they would be using. A minute after taking the blood sample, Palmer revealed to Harry that he was HIV negative, to which the prince responded “It is amazing how quick it is!”
He went on to say, “So whether you’re a man, woman, gay, straight, black or white—even ginger—why wouldn’t you come and have a test?”
After the video was posted, Ian Green, chief executive of HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust, called it “a groundbreaking moment in the fight against HIV,” adding that it will “amplify a message to millions” that “testing for HIV is easy, quick and nothing to be feared.”
A statement released by Kensington Palace after the event read: “Until everyone feels relaxed about taking HIV tests–whether from higher risk groups or not–then tackling the stigma and fear surrounding this simple test will continue to allow the virus to win, Harry believes.”
The public move echoes the work done by his late pioneering mother Princess Diana, who was famously photographed meeting and interacting with people with HIV long before it was widely-accepted to do so.
Seemingly taking up her mantle as part of his own public work, Prince Harry has established an HIV charity, Sentebale, and is set to attend the 21st International AIDS Conference next week in Durban.
At the event, the royal will meet with world leaders to discuss both the challenges the disease presents globally and the importance of education in combating it.
h/t: Daily Mail