Prince Harry, previously known as the “party prince,” was put to the test live on Facebook — the HIV test, that is.
Prince Harry took the HIV test at Burrell Street Sexual Health Centre in London and broadcast his visit and the subsequent results on the Facebook page for the royal family, according to People. He admitted to some trepidation about getting the results.
“Even being the person I am and knowing the type of people I’m around, I’m still nervous,” he said. “Which is interesting,” he added.
Prince Harry has been tested for HIV @GSTTnhs
It’s a simple finger prick test and gives a nearly instant result! pic.twitter.com/VRr6KyUSD3
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) July 14, 2016
E! News reported that 31-year-old Prince Harry’s HIV test was actually groundbreaking, and Prince Harry himself said that he was hoping to de-stigmatize the act of getting an HIV test by getting one done himself. Ian Green, the chief executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said that the decision to have the HIV test done live on Facebook represented an opportunity to talk about the disease.
“Today, Prince Harry has got people talking about HIV again and has normalized HIV testing to a global audience,” Green said of the prince’s test on Facebook. “In doing so, he could inspire a generation to take control of their sexual health.”
Prince Harry questioned people’s ongoing reluctance to get an HIV test, especially since the test only takes a minute. The doctor took a finger prick from the prince, and within a minute, Prince Harry received his results before a Facebook audience.
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) July 14, 2016
Even Prince Harry was quite shocked as to how easy getting an HIV test actually was.
“Gay, straight, black, white, ginger, whatever—why wouldn’t you just have a test?” Prince Harry asked during the Facebook broadcast, according to Vanity Fair. “We all shouldn’t be on the other side of the river saying, ‘you should get the test,’ it should be normalized, everybody should get it.”
Doctor Robert Palmer, who conducted the HIV test on Prince Harry, admitted to feeling nervous about giving Prince Harry an HIV test.
“He was anxious and I think I was as nervous as he was!” Palmer explained during the Facebook broadcast. “It is an unusual experience to have a prince sitting in your chair. But Prince Harry doing this shows it is a test for everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are, it is such a small intervention that anyone can do it and it can save lives.”
In addition to having the HIV test done on Facebook, Prince Harry is also planning on attending the 21st International AIDS Conference next Wednesday and Thursday. While in South Africa, Prince Harry plans to meet leaders who are involved in the global fight against HIV and AIDS.
The video featuring Prince Harry’s HIV test has been viewed some 500,000 times since 9 a.m. today on Facebook. Green said that in having an HIV test done and broadcasted on Facebook, Prince Harry is showing other people his age and younger just how easy it is to have a test done. He also noted that Prince Harry’s support in the fight against AIDS offers incredible support.
“Thanks to treatment, testing for HIV could stop you from getting seriously ill, enable you to live a normal lifespan and prevent you from passing the virus on to anyone else,” he said. “That’s why it’s so invaluable to have Prince Harry’s support as we aim to bust stigma and end the HIV epidemic.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some 34.3 to 41.4 million people were estimated to be living with HIV by the end of 2014. To date, 71 million have been estimated as having been infected with the disease while some 34 million have died of HIV.
According to AIDS.gov, 17.1 million do not know they have the virus and around 22 million do not have access to appropriate treatment, including 1.8 million children. That makes Prince Harry and his HIV test on Facebook even more important — he was able to use his influence to hopefully raise awareness.
[Photo by Chris Jackson-Pool/Getty Images]