Prince Harry says we all have ‘duty’ to get tested for HIV while honouring Diana’s tireless advocacy

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Gareth Thomas attend a Terrence Higgins Trust event ahead of National HIV Testing Week, 2019

Prince Harry has urged “every single” person to get a HIV test while discussing his mother’s “unfinished business”.

To mark HIV Testing Week, Prince Harry sat down with his friend, rugby star turned campaigner Gareth Thomas, to discuss the importance of tackling stigma around HIV testing.

In a video released by Thomas’ organisation Tackle HIV, Prince Harry spoke about continuing his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales’s work in HIV advocacy.

Thomas pointed out that their conversation marked 35 years since Diana opened Britain’s first AIDS unit at Middlesex hospital.

Prince Harry described his mother’s work as “unfinished business”, and added: “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.”

In 2016, Prince Harry took was tested for HIV in a live broadcast, and afterwards testing numbers skyrocketed.

“Every single one of us has a duty, or at least an opportunity, to get tested ourselves or to make it easier for everybody else to get tested,” he said.

“And then it just becomes a regular thing like anything else. This testing week, especially in the UK, or wherever you are in the world, go and get a test. Let people know that you know your status. Do it.”

Gareth Thomas revealed that he was living with HIV in 2019 after a tabloid newspaper threatened to out him, and has since worked tirelessly to tackle stigma around the virus.

He told Prince Harry that what he “thought would be a life ending condition, it’s actually turned into being a life affirming condition”, and that although he diagnosis was completely unexpected, he now has a new “appreciation of life”.

Thomas explained: “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 added: “I want other people to feel how I feel, I want other people to feel empowered, I want other people to feel that they can talk about it, like they don’t have to live in silence.”

HIV Testing Week is run by the Terrence Higgins Trust, and quick, easy and confidential home testing kits are available to order for free online.

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