LONDON — Prince Harry decided to have an HIV test broadcast live on the Royal Family’s Facebook page to demonstrate how easy it is for someone to get tested and to help destigmatize the virus. The 31-year-old Prince of Wales had the test at the Guys’ and St. Thomas hospital in London.
According to Robert Palmer, the healthcare worker who conducted the test, a result of reactive or non-reactive is received in one minute. In cases where the result is reactive, it is sent to the lab for further examination.
The testing process for Prince Harry was simple. After washing his hands and getting relaxed, Harry’s finger was pricked, and the sample was placed into a special machine to produce the result.
Even though some people believe that results for HIV tests can take up to a few months, the live broadcast showed that it can take as little as 60 seconds. The video gained immediate popularity; it was viewed by more than 250,000 people, received 44,000 likes and was shared 1,500 times just two hours after its release.
Chief Executive Ian Green of Terrence Higgins Trust characterized Prince Harry’s decision to be tested live for HIV as “a groundbreaking moment” on social media.
Green explained that this kind of action, when performed by a notable figure, such as Prince Harry, conveys a message to millions of people around the world that HIV testing is simple, quick and is not something to be ashamed of.
According to a statement from Kensington Place, Prince Harry believes that “until everyone feels relaxed about taking HIV tests, fear surrounding this simple test will allow the virus to win.” He insists that everyone should have access to and receive HIV testing.
Prince Harry chose to be tested as a part of his larger campaign to fight HIV by raising awareness. Along with Sir Elton John, the founder of Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF), which is leading the U.K.’s fight against HIV, Prince Harry participated in the 2016 International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa.
During the conference, EJAF will announce the first recipient of the LGBT fund, a $10 million partnership with the Presidency Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The fund will support NGOs in Africa responding to the current AIDS crisis.
The International Aids Conference focused mainly on the transmission of HIV among the youth. Along with Sir Elton John and Prince Harry, a panel of young correspondents describe “what is and what is not working for the HIV response among young people” and how adolescents can address the threat of HIV.
Additionally, the participants have the opportunity to meet leaders who fight for HIV and AIDS and to discuss the difficulties that people diagnosed with HIV may face.
Through the broadcast live action and the event in South Africa, Prince Harry sends an international message about HIV — following the philanthropic examples of his mother, Princess Diana. During his campaign, Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso founded Sentebale, a charity that helps anyone who is in need — but mainly orphan children affected by HIV in Lesotho.
Meanwhile, during the educational conferences, new progress has been made regarding a possible cure for HIV. A new protein — initially used in laboratory tests and developed in Brisbane, Australia — may prevent HIV cells from expressing the deadly virus.
According to the Associate-Researcher Professor, David Harrich, as long as the HIV-infected cells have the protein, the HIV particles are stopped. Essentially, a person may still have the presence of HIV within the body, but the protein will make the virus ineffective.
Since millions of people (especially in developing countries) around the world do not have access to support, protection and education about the virus, international involvement by organizations, volunteers and special programs are necessary to fight against HIV and AIDS.
– Eliza Karampetian-Nikotian