Posted on Thursday 14 July 2016
Prince Harry visits Burrell Street Sexual Health Clinic to raise awareness of HIV testing.
Prince Harry took a rapid HIV test at Burrell Street Sexual Health Centre today (Thursday 14 July) to normalise and de-stigmatise testing.
The test, which was broadcast live on the Royal Family’s Facebook page, was part of his work to focus the minds of his generation on the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Robert Palmer, lead health advisor and psychosexual counsellor at Burrell Street, which is part of Guy’s and St Thomas’, carried out Prince Harry’s rapid HIV test, which took less than one minute to give a result.
He says: “It’s really important for someone like Prince Harry to have an HIV test because it normalises the testing process. It lets everyone know that it’s a simple test, it doesn’t take long, and that it’s important to know your HIV status.
“What we do know is that it’s not people who are HIV positive who are passing the infection on, it’s those who do not know their status. What we want to do is get those people into clinic.
“If Prince Harry can come along today and let it be known that a royal can have an HIV test, then everyone can have an HIV test.”
Burrell Street prides itself on using innovative methods to normalise and de-stigmatise testing in an area of London with the highest rate of HIV positive patients in the UK.
HIV rates in the UK continue to rise despite years of progress in treating the illness. One of the biggest factors has been that up to 17% of HIV positive patients are unaware of their status and so can unintentionally pass on the virus to partners.
Worldwide as many as 17 million people are unaware that they have HIV. Late diagnosis also means people don’t get early treatment to enable them to lead healthy lives.
Kensington Palace reported that Prince Harry believes that until everyone feels relaxed about having an HIV test – whether from higher risk groups or not – then tackling the stigma and fear surrounding this simple test will continue to allow the virus to win.