Prince Harry took an HIV test in a London clinic on July 14, which he shared live on the Royal Family’s Facebook page.
The prince has been raising awareness on HIV and AIDS and will speak about stigma at the 2016 International AIDS Conference next week.
Prince Harry, 31, walked into a sexual health clinic for the instant test. The result, which was negative, was indicated by a blue spot in the tray. It was conducted in less than a minute following a prick on the finger, “that didn’t even hurt,” Prince Harry said.
“It’s really important for someone like Prince Harry to have an HIV test,” said Robert Palmer from Burrell Street, part of Guy’s St Thomas NHS. “It normalizes the testing process. It lets everyone know that it’s a simple test, it doesn’t take long, and that it’s important to know your HIV status.”
Palmer said it’s people who don’t know they have HIV that are passing the infection on—rather than those who know they are HIV positive.
In the United Kingdom, the HIV rate continues to rise despite progress in treatment, mainly because up to 17 percent of HIV positive individuals don’t know about their positive status.
“What we want to do is get those people into clinic,” Palmer said. “If Prince Harry can come along today and let it be known that a royal can have an HIV test, then everyone can have an HIV test.”
— TerrenceHigginsTrust (@THTorguk) July 14, 2016
“Prince Harry’s decision to take an HIV test, live on social media, is a groundbreaking moment in the fight against HIV,” said Ian Green, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust.
“Not only does it show His Royal Highness’s genuine and personal commitment to tackling the HIV epidemic, it will amplify a message to millions all over the world: testing for HIV is easy, quick and nothing to be feared,” he added.
Singer Elton John praised Prince Harry for the live test.
“Diana moved a mountain by addressing the stigma surrounding people living with HIV/AIDS. She showed the world we could safely wrap our arms around AIDS patients, by shaking hands with a patient without gloves,” he said on Instagram.
“Today in London, Prince Harry gave that stigma a knock on the head by showing the world how easy and simple it is to take an HIV test,” John said. “Bravo Prince Harry! Your mother would be so proud of you.”
In 1991, Princess Diana moved a mountain by addressing the stigma surrounding people living with HIV/AIDS. She showed the world we could safely wrap our arms around AIDS patients, by shaking hands with a patient without gloves. We’ve made huge strides since then in the treatment of the disease. People now live long, happy lives with HIV, when the virus is effectively managed with anti-retrovirals. Despite this amazing progress, most people today are still frightened and stigmatised at the notion of taking an HIV test. Today in London, Prince Harry gave that stigma a knock on the head by showing the world how easy and simple it is to take an HIV test. Bravo Prince Harry! Your mother would be so proud of you. @ejaf #LoveBravery