Prince Harry says HIV testing should be as normal as Covid testing
Harry is keen to continue his late mother's "unfinished work" with regards to eliminating stigma regarding HIV.
Prince Harry has spoken about the need to remove the stigma that is still attached to HIV, and has underlined the importance of everyone knowing their status.
In a recent video, Harry spoke with Gareth Thomas, the former captain of the Welsh rugby team, to mark the UK's National HIV Testing Week. Thomas, who is living with HIV, spoke about the medical advancements we've seen in terms of HIV over the past few years.
Thomas acknowledged that some might be apprehensive about knowing their status, but pointing to the progress that's been made, he told viewers: "It wouldn’t be scary if you understood what living with HIV in 2022 is."
The rugby player spoke about how his HIV is treated with one tablet a day. He said: "I take a moment at 6am … I take my HIV medication which is one tablet, and I feel that my day then begins. I’m very active, I go to the gym, I work as hard as I possibly can, and I think with that appreciation of life comes this sense of not being selfish."
He then explained that when he first received his diagnosis, he thought it would be a "life-ending condition", when in reality it is "life-affirming".
Harry spoke about the importance of testing for HIV, saying: "Every single one of us has a duty, or at least an opportunity, to get tested ourselves to make it easier for everybody else to get tested.”
He noted that there has been a drop in HIV testing during the pandemic, and called for the process to be made as normal as Covid testing.
Harry also spoke about his mother's work on HIV campaigns in the 90s.
He said: "Add in the fact that my mum’s work was unfinished, I feel obligated to try and continue that as much as possible. I can never fill her shoes, especially in this particular space, what she did, what she stood for and how vocal she was on this issue."
This isn't the first time Harry spoke about the need to remove the stigma attached to HIV. In 2016, he got tested during a live broadcast, and what followed was a 500% increase in the number of people requesting HIV tests from the Terrence Higgins Trust.
The conversation between Harry and Gareth comes just days after research determined that HIV is now infecting more heterosexual people than gay and bisexual men.
Advancemnets in HIV care now means that those who are positive and on effective treatment cannot pass the virus on to their partners.
For more information on HIV and how to get tested in Ireland, visit hivireland.ie.