PRINCE Harry has vowed continue the work of his late mother Princess Diana’s work on HIV.
Speaking to his friend Gareth Thomas, the ex-Wales rugby captain, the Duke of Sussex said there was “unfinished work” on disease, as he also urged Brits to get HIV tests.
The late princess changed the global perception of HIV and Aids, raising awareness of the condition and supporting hospices.
In the late 1980s, when many still believed the disease could be contracted through casual contact, she sat by the sick bed of a man with Aids and held his hand.
Asked what made him so passionate about advocating over HIV, Harry said: “Once you get to meet people and you see the suffering around the world, I certainly can’t turn my back on that.
“Then add in the fact that my mum’s work was unfinished, I feel obligated to try and continue that as much as possible.
Harry also urged people follow his example and get an HIV test.
When Harry publicly took one alongside the singer Rihanna in 2016, it contributed to a 500 per cent increase in the number of people requesting from the Terrence Higgins Trust.
Harry described how the virus used to be a death sentence, but was now a “manageable disease” though “stigma still exists and therefore the testing is still a problem”.
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“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,
Former Wales full-back Thomas, who revealed he was HIV positive in 2019, said: “It wouldn’t be scary if you understood what living with HIV in 2022 is.”
Thomas, who came out as the first openly gay rugby union player in 2009, said it was a daunting experience to walk into a sexual health clinic
But he said it was so much easier to test now, in the privacy of your own home, or at drop-in clinics where there are people to talk to.
Tackle HIV, a campaign led by Thomas in partnership with ViiV Healthcare and the Terrence Higgins Trust, aims to tackle stigma and misunderstanding around HIV.
As part of National HIV Testing Week free HIV home test kits can be ordered in the UK at www.startswithme.org.uk or tests can be carried out at local sexual health or community clinics.
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