This is the moment Prince Harry took an HIV test and live-streamed the event on the royal family's Facebook page.
In an attempt to destigmatise what for some is a frightening test, the Prince attended London's Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital on Thursday morning and broadcast the whole event.
"It only takes about a minute to do," the doctor told him, explaining that the rapid-result pin-prick test gives a strong indication whether the result is positive or negative almost immediately, but, if positive, needs to be sent to the lab to confirm.
Harry, whose mother, Princess Diana, famously championed people with HIV, said that "even though I'm not from this part of London or being the person I am ... I'm still nervous". He then asked what most people's biggest fear around the test is.
"The fear is not knowing, more than anything else," the doctor said, before adding that knowing one's HIV status is "very important" and "if you feel you've put yourself at risk, have a test." Within a few seconds, the blood had been taken.
"It's amazing how quick it is," said Harry. "Some blood tests you have to wait."
"This one you can know straight away," said the doctor. "The relief some people feel ... They can feel much better straight away." And with that the result was in: negative.
Prince Harry was keen to stress, however, that even if it had been positive, the prognosis in 2016 is very promising. The doctor added further reassurance that when someone is diagnosed they can still enjoy a "good, healthy sex life" and that people live "long and healthy lives".
Yesterday a vast study confirmed what doctors have known for several years: that when an HIV person takes anti-retroviral medication properly, adhering to the medication regime, it reduces the amount of virus in the blood to such minuscule (or "undetectable") level as to make it – effectively – impossible to pass on the virus, even during unprotected sex.
Prince Harry concluded: "Whether you're a man, woman, gay, straight, black, white, whatever – even gingers! – why wouldn't you come and have a test?"
The head of Britain's biggest HIV charity, the Terence Higgins Trust, hailed Prince Harry's decision as an important step towards reducing stigma.
“Prince Harry’s decision to take an HIV test, live on social media, is a groundbreaking moment in the fight against HIV," said CEO Ian Green.
“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."
Green added: “We have a real opportunity to end HIV transmissions in the UK, but it starts with each person knowing their HIV status. Too many people are either put off testing by the stigma that still surrounds HIV, or simply do not think HIV is an issue any more. Today Prince Harry has got people talking about HIV again and has normalised HIV testing to a global audience. In doing so, he could inspire a generation to take control of their sexual health.
“Thanks to treatment, testing for HIV could stop you from getting seriously ill, enable you to live a normal lifespan, and prevent you from passing the virus on to anyone else. That’s why it’s so invaluable to have Prince Harry’s support as we aim to bust stigma and end the HIV epidemic.”
Patrick Strudwick is a LGBT editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Patrick Strudwick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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