Thursday, 21 July 2016

Prince Harry's serious message

Prince Harry at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa
(photo Kensington Palace Twitter)

Last week, he gave us a royal first as he took an HIV test live on Facebook. Today, at the International AIDS conference in Durban, Africa, Prince Harry had a simple message - get tested, why wouldn't you? And he was so serious about it, he wrote it out for all to see.

Prince Harry with Sir Elton John at the International AIDS conference in South Africa
(UNAIDS Twitter)

Prince Harry arrived in South Africa yesterday after spending several days in Lesotho with his charity, Sentebale. He will be taking part in the International AIDS conference on the organisation's behalf. And today he continued a message he began last week with that Facebook test - the importance of checking for HIV.

He was invited to write his own contribution on a Pro Test wall at the conference and Harry spelt it out in red letters. 'Get tested, why wouldn't you, Harry'. Alongside him was Sir Elton John and the two then posed holding T-shirts supporting testing.

Both men made speeches at the conference with Harry referring to another theme of the day at the event - the importance of youth leadership and of involving young people in the work against eradicating HIV/ AIDS.  He told delegates that HIV remained a major global issue and a new generation of leaders was needed.

He also talked about the importance of educating young people about HIV/AIDS and 'giving young people in every country the voice they deserve'. And he stressed the importance of giving children in Lesotho and throughout Africa were 'the tools to protect their health, to speak out against stigma and discrimination and to support friends and family.'  Harry added that helping young people fight HIV could 'change the direction of history for an entire generation'.

And that focus on getting young people involved was a theme of the day for Harry. He met youth ambassadors to the International AIDS conference and then later in the day, he joined Sir Elton for an interview on the Children's Radio Foundation. Talking to interviewers, Yolanda and Beatrice, Harry again talked about his belief in the power of education, saying 'you get taught about Maths at school, where is the education on HIV?'

That was streamed live on Facebook (you can see the full interview above) just like Harry's ground breaking HIV test. The conference continues until tomorrow but Prince Harry has made it clear that his message and his campaign to end what he called the complacency around HIV will go on. 

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