Britain’s Prince Harry this morning took a HIV test live on Facebook. The Facebook Live transmission went out on the official Royal Family page.
It captures Prince Harry – young brother of Prince William and the youngest son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana – being tested at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London.
Harry – who is the fifth in line to the throne – is seen discussing the test with a health advisor, before submitting to a finger-prick test. The result comes back negative.
Harry discusses the implications of testing positive, and it is explained to him that knowing one’s HIV status – especially if one is HIV positive – is hugely beneficial with regards to receiving the best treatment.
‘So whether you’re a man, woman, gay, straight, black, white, whatever – even ginger,’ he says pointing at himself, ‘Why wouldn’t you come and have a test?’
‘This is the thing,’ responds the advisor, ‘What you’ve proved today is it’s important for everybody to come and do this.’
Harry’s decision to allow himself to be filmed was praised by the Terrence Higgins Trust, the UK’s largest sexual health charity.
Ian Green, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said in a statement, ‘Prince Harry’s decision to take an HIV test, live on social media, is a groundbreaking moment in the fight against HIV.
‘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.’
According to figures from the THT, around 103,700 people are living with HIV in the UK and 6,000 people are diagnosed every year. Of these, 17% are undiagnosed and do not know about their HIV infection.
Just over half of those infected with HIV each year are men who have sex with men.
Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana, received much praise in her lifetime for her own efforts to break down the stigma faced by many people living with HIV. Photographs of her holding hands with people affected by HIV were credited with helping to change public perceptions around the virus.