Prince Harry has been publicly tested for HIV twice — once even alongside Rihanna. Now he is appealing for others to do the same

Advertisement

Prince Harry has been publicly tested for HIV twice — once even alongside Rihanna. Now he is appealing for others to do the same.

“Taking an HIV test is something to be proud of – not something to be ashamed or embarrassed about,” the royal says in a new PSA on Friday.

Harry, 34, adds, “As much as you protect yourself at this time of year from illnesses and viruses like cold and flu, you can also protect your health by taking an HIV test.”

The royal also celebrates a 28 percent decline in new HIV diagnoses over the last two years in the U.K. But he also warned, “this is no time for complacency.”

Wearing a red ribbon as a symbol of awareness and support for people living with HIV, he adds, “We won’t bring an end to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus until testing is seen as completely normal and accessible for everyone.”

The prince’s PSA comes as the British charity, Terrence Higgins Trust, says there needs to be greater focus on tackling “worryingly high rates of undiagnosed and late-stage HIV.” The PSA comes at the start of National HIV Testing week in the U.K.

The latest statistics from Public Health England show that around 1 in 8 people living with HIV are undiagnosed and unaware they have the virus; while more than four in 10 (43 percent) of those newly diagnosed in 2017 were diagnosed at a late stage of HIV, which means damage to the immune system had already begun.

BRITAIN-CRIME-POLICE-RACISM-ROYALS
Prince Harry
| Credit: VICTORIA JONES/AFP/Getty

Last year, the prince handed out testing kits to help raise awareness.

Part of his ongoing battle to tackle the stigma of testing for the condition has taken him to the same hospital where his late mother Princess Diana would visit (both publicly and privately), the Mildmay in London.

One of Princess Diana‘s greatest legacies was her crusade for HIV and AIDS awareness — and her pioneering efforts to break the false stigma that casual contact, such as shaking hands or hugging, can spread the disease.