Britain’s Prince Harry took an HIV test early Thursday in a bid to raise awareness about the condition and get rid of the stigma surrounding the procedure. The entire process was broadcast live on the royal family’s Facebook page from Guys and St. Thomas’ Hospital in London.
The 31-year-old Prince urged everyone to visit a hospital and take the test, whether they think they're at risk or not, showing “how easy it is to get tested for HIV.”
He added with a joke: “So whether you're a man, woman, gay, straight, black, white, whatever – even ginger – why wouldn’t you come and have a test?”
Harry admitted to being “nervous” as he sat down with a health advisor for a quick pin-prick test. His sample was mixed with chemicals in a test tray, where the negative result was indicated by a blue spot. The presence of two spots would have confirmed an HIV positive result, which would have to be confirmed with a further blood test.
The chief executive of sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust, Ian Green, hailed the prince’s decision as a “groundbreaking moment in the fight against HIV.”
“Not only does it show His Royal Highness’s genuine and personal commitment to tackling the HIV epidemic, it will amplify a message to millions all over the world: testing for HIV is easy, quick and nothing to be feared,” he reportedly said in a statement.
An estimated 103,700 people are currently living with HIV in the U.K. with about 6,000 people diagnosed every year. However, 17 percent of these are undiagnosed and are unaware of the infection, the Daily Mail reported.