Prince Harry Continues Princess Diana’s HIV Advocacy Work

Prince Harry has stepped into his late mother’s shoes by becoming a crusader against HIV. According to People magazine, Prince Harry made a private visit to London’s Mildmay Mission Hospital to interact with the medical fraternity and the patients with HIV, with the most recent trip being a follow-up to an initial quick visit that he had publicly made in December, 2015.

As part of his visit, Prince Harry spent a considerable amount of time learning about the HIV virus and sharing his efforts to encourage high-risk groups to undergo HIV testing for early detection and treatment. Earlier in July, Prince Harry underwent HIV testing himself to encourage people to put their inhibitions aside and embark on the antiretroviral drug therapy if tested positive.

Even today, there is widespread discrimination against people who are living with HIV, and hence people are hesitant to get themselves tested to avoid being stigmatized. Prince Harry’s selfless act in volunteering to get himself tested for HIV comes as a positive step for encouraging HIV-positive people to fight the disease. According to People magazine, a representative at the Mildmay Mission Hospital spoke about how gratified they felt due to Prince Harry’s involvement in fighting discrimination against people affected by HIV.

“As an organization, we are deeply impressed and heartened to witness the work Prince Harry is doing to break down stigma, encourage testing and raise HIV awareness.”

Prince Harry’s stint as an HIV activist is reminiscent of the work of his late mother Princess Diana, who used to frequently visit Mildmay Hospital to care for HIV patients and work towards preventing the stigma associated with the HIV infection. In fact, Princess Diana had played a key role in significantly increasing HIV awareness by shaking hands with an HIV patient and kissing him on the cheek. In addition, Princess Diana was known to often visit the hospital in secrecy in order to escape the inevitable publicity and media attention.

Prince Harry has come to appreciate the efforts of his late mother who secretly visited the hospital a number of times to care for the patients and to follow up with the hospital administration with regards to their work against HIV. Ever since he has taken up his mother’s fight against HIV, Prince Harry is availing every opportunity to motivate activists to carry on with their fights against HIV/AIDS. News Australia reports that Prince Harry spoke at an international AIDS conference in South Africa to instil a sense of urgency among people regarding HIV awareness, as he feels the topic isn’t garnering the attention it deserves.

Prince Harry’s HIV advocacy work in South Africa occurred at a similar time to his high-profile African visit in which he actively participated in the “500 Elephants” wildlife conservation initiative, which aims to rehabilitate 500 elephants in Malawi to a safe zone which is not riddled with human-wildlife conflict.

Prince Harry’s foray into HIV and wildlife activism is a part of his efforts to take a meaningful career in which he will be able to fulfill his royal duties faithfully. Earlier, Prince Harry was enrolled in the British Army after he successfully completed his military training at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. And even though he left the army in June, 2015 to focus on humanitarian causes, the young royal has still been seen cheering for current defense force personnel and war veterans on a number of occasions.

In fact, Prince Harry is credited with organizing the Invictus Games, the international multi-sport event which aims to boost the morale and confidence of wounded or disabled army personnel by encouraging them to participate and compete in a range of sports. A number of soldiers and veterans who were affected during combat have been able to boost their confidence while taking part in the games. According to the Observer, Sergeant Elizabeth Marks, a famous Paralympic swimmer and an American soldier who suffered hip injuries while stationed in Iraq, showed sincere appreciation for Prince Harry’s love and respect towards people in uniform.

Sergeant Marks went on to show that soldiers with disabilities can surge forward in life when she won a gold medal in the women’s 100m breaststroke event at the ongoing Paralympic Games in Rio.

Unfortunately, Prince Harry wasn’t present at the venue to cheer his sporting friend as he’s busy preparing for a high-profile state visit to the Caribbean islands.

[Featured Image by Uncredited/AP Images]

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