Prince Harry has called for HIV testing to be seen as “completely normal and accessible”, in a new video to mark National HIV Testing Week.
The Duke of Sussex said people should view getting testing for HIV the same as getting protected against viruses like “cold and flu”.
He said in the video: “There is still too much stigma, which is stopping so many of us from getting a simple, quick and easy test.
“Taking an HIV test is something to be proud of – not something to be ashamed or embarrassed about.”
Around one-in-eight people living with HIV are undiagnosed, while 43% of people who were diagnosed in 2017 did so at a late stage of the virus, meaning damage to their immune system had already begun.
A late diagnosis can lead to a 10-fold increased risk of death.
In the video, the prince says there is something to celebrate, with a 28% drop in new HIV diagnoses over the last two years, but adds: “This is no time for complacency”.
“This is such a pivotal time in the fight against HIV if we can continue to make HIV testing the norm and empower young people to take control of their sexual health, we can be the generation to finally bring an end to HIV.
“By not getting tested it could kill you. By getting tested it could save your life.”
The royal has long advocated for better HIV testing, and when he got tested live on Facebook two years ago there was a five-fold increase in orders for HIV tests from the Terrence Higgins Trust.
Ian Green, chief executive of the charity, said: “We’re thrilled to have the Duke’s continued support for tackling HIV stigma and normalising testing, ahead of what we hope will be the most successful National HIV Testing Week ever.”
Public Health England (PHE) chief executive, Duncan Selbie, said: “Testing and early diagnosis are critical to ensure that those with HIV can access effective treatments and go on to live a long and healthy life.”