People who did not know their HIV status were “irresponsible” Prince Harry said this morning on a flying visit to Homerton, where he handed out self-testing kits at the opening of a public HIV testing pop-up shop.
At the event to mark HIV testing week, the Prince said people should no longer be demonised for getting an HIV test. He joined workers from the Terrence Higgins Trust in handing out self-testing kits to local residents.
He said: “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). The sooner the better.”
Cary James, Head of Health Improvement Programmes at the Terrence Higgins Trust, which is running the pop-up shop in Hackney Walk shopping centre told ELL: “He was terrific. He knows so much about HIV. He was asking really intelligent questions and was really genuinely interested in what was going on.”
Prince Harry is carrying out the legacy of his mother, the late Diana Princess of Wales, who was one of the first public figures to challenge the stigma about the disease 30 years ago when she shook hands with a patient without wearing gloves, demystifying that the disease could be passed on by touch.
At the event the Prince also spoke to Andrew Bates, 23, who was found to be HIV positive in 2015 and who is planning to run a marathon next year to raise awareness about the lives of those who are on HIV medication.
The event launched today a few days before the start of National HIV Testing Week starting this Saturday and the pop-up clinic will be open from 12:00 till 7:00 pm every day from November 18-25 at the Hackney Walk Shopping Centre in the heart of Homerton.
James added: “It’s terrific the amount of attention that this will bring to the shop. Last year he did a Facebook Live with Rihanna for testing in Barbados and the number of people who started wanting to learn from us about testing went up by 500%.”
East London Lines’ reporter Camille Mijola gets HIV tested at the THT self-testing pop-up shop in Homerton.