Today, Prince Harry was in Hackney to visit an HIV testing pop-up shop run by the Terrence Higgins Trust. The trust is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to HIV and sexual health and was named after Terrence Higgins, who was one of the first people in the UK to die with AIDS.
Both Prince William and Harry have shown their support for the trust in the past, following in the footsteps of their late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. Diana was a passionate supporter of the Terrence Higgins Trust and raising awareness of HIV and AIDS both in the UK and on an international level. Likewise, her youngest son has continued to raise awareness of the disease and both prevention and treatment methods.
Today’s visit marked HIV Test Week, with Prince Harry visiting the pop-up centre to learn about the trust’s self-testing kits and raise awareness of their availability.
The kits can be collected for free from the Hackney pop-up shop, you just have to register on an iPad and then the test can be taken at home; the test provides results within 15 minutes.
Harry, who was wearing a red ribbon on his lapel (the symbol of World Aids Day), spoke to Yvonne Twagiramariya, a reporter and one of the faces of HIV Test Week. Yvonne carried out one of the tests on herself to show the royal visitor how easy they are to administer: a simple finger prick to supply a small sample of blood for testing.
The Prince, showing his self-deprecating humour, asked if instructions were ‘idiot proof’ for people like him. Last year, The Queen’s grandson took an HIV test live on Facebook to show how easy it is to be tested.
Harry also spoke to Andrew Bates, a volunteer with the Terrence Higgins Trust. Andrew was diagnosed with HIV last year, and told the Prince how he wishes to “become an advocate for HIV positive people and show the world that life doesn’t end after getting an HIV diagnosis”.
The patient also explained to Harry that he is in training to run a half-marathon in order to raise money for the trust.
The Prince then helped to hand out the testing kits to five Hackney locals, ensuring they had registered correctly before giving them each a kit to take home. Harry also spoke on the importance of HIV awareness, claiming that it “irresponsible” not to get tested, especially when it is so simple to do so.
The Prince urged famous faces to get tested, as he himself did alongside Rihanna in Barbados last year. He also said: “If you are positive, it’s absolutely fine – you can have a healthy, happy life. Rather than not knowing your status and being on medication for a period of your life, or the rest of your life, rather than letting yourself get to that point where there is no return, I must stress to everyone how important it is [to get tested]”.
You can also visit the pop-up centre, or order one of their self-testing kits – details below.
Our pop up shop in Hackney Walk is now OPEN! Come along and pick up your free HIV self test and know your status.
— Terrence Higgins Trust (@THTorguk) November 15, 2017