Prince Harry feels a responsibility to carry on his mother Princess Diana’s “unfinished” work in the fight against HIV.
Harry chatted to rugby player Gareth Thomas, who revealed that he was HIV positive in 2019, for his “Tackle HIV” podcast, in support of National HIV Testing Week 2022 in the U.K.
Diana opened the U.K.’s first HIV/AIDS unit at London’s Middlesex Hospital in 1987, and Harry explained how he wants to continue her incredible work.
The Duke of Sussex shared, “What my mom did, and what so many other people did at that time, was to smash that wall down. To kick the door open and say, ‘No. When people are suffering, then we need to learn more, and if there’s a stigma that’s playing such a large part of it, then what we really need to do is talk about it more,'” according to People.
Prince Harry has asked Britons to “go and get a test” for HIV as he told former rugby star Gareth Thomas how he feels a responsibility to carry on his mother’s “unfinished” work. pic.twitter.com/NacIpmzQCi
— talkRADIO (@talkRADIO) February 10, 2022
He added, “That kind of made people feel a little bit uncomfortable to start with. But stigma thrives on silence. We know that.
“What my mom started all those years ago was creating empathy and understanding… but also curiosity, which I think was really powerful.”
Past generations started the battle with HIV but this one could finish it
In an exclusive chat, Gareth Thomas sits down with Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex to talk about how far we have come, how far we have to go & the importance of testing
— Tackle HIV (@TackleHIV) February 10, 2022
Harry, who got publicly tested with Rihanna during a 2016 visit to Barbados, pointed out that most people don’t think the illness will affect them so they don’t feel the need to get tested.
“Every single one of us has a duty, or at least an opportunity, to get tested ourselves to make it easier for everybody else to get tested,” he said. “It will undoubtedly save a life or, at the very least, encourage someone who is living in fear to come forward and get to know their own status, which in turn will save a life.”
“We need to eradicate the stigma and the misunderstanding around it,” Thomas shared. “It wouldn’t be scary if you understood what living with HIV in 2022 is.”
He told Harry: “Having advocates, having allies, when this can be such an isolating, lonely virus to live with, is sometimes enough. It’s sometimes the difference between getting tested and not getting tested. It’s sometimes, sadly, the difference between life and death. So, I, as somebody who lives with HIV has the ability to have the platform to say thank you for everything you’ve done.”