Celebrities and activists are joining Prince Harry during National HIV Testing Week in calling for HIV testing to be seen as “completely normal and accessible”.
Speaking at the weekend, the Duke of Sussex said that people shouldn’t be ashamed or embarrassed about taking a test and instead should treat it in the same way as people protecting themselves against other viruses, such as flu.
Four well-known faces from diverse backgrounds, from reality TV stars to LGBTQ+ campaigners, will each release a short film on their social media channels during National HIV Testing Week (17-23 November), in the #onlyoneminute campaign, which is being pioneered by the distributors of INSTI, the world’s fastest HIV test.
The short films will build awareness that it only takes 60 seconds to do a finger-prick test, which can be done at home or carried out by a trained professional at NHS clinics or public health charity organisations.
The following celebrities are backing the campaign (with links to their videos):
- Model and activist Munroe Bergdorf https://youtu.be/eT0o9QeO3Ek
- GP and medical broadcaster Dr Hilary Jones https://youtu.be/iX79ypcqCqM
- Reality TV star Jordan Davies https://youtu.be/NVogg1Nlslc
- Comedian Shappi Khorsandi https://youtu.be/-rs1eYBOZP8
Joining them are several LGBTQ+ bloggers and influencers, who will also be posting their videos on their social media channels, during the week.
National HIV Testing Week is a flagship campaign by HIV Prevention England to promote regular testing among the most affected population groups in the UK and to reduce the rates of undiagnosed people, as well as those diagnosed late.
The aim of the #onlyoneminute campaign from INSTI is to make people aware that HIV is still a real risk in the 21st century and encourage them to take a test.
Speaking on behalf of INSTI, marketing director Louise Ball said:
“We commend Prince Harry for raising awareness and helping to smash stigma attached with HIV testing.
“About one in eight people with HIV are undiagnosed and unaware they have the virus, while 43% of those newly diagnosed in 2017 were diagnosed at a late stage of HIV, meaning damage to the immune system had already begun.
“Regular testing and early diagnosis are key, with late diagnosis associated with a tenfold increased risk of short-term mortality. It is for this reason that there needs to be a greater focus on tackling undiagnosed and late-stage HIV.”
She added: “HIV can affect people of all backgrounds and age groups and our aim has been to target as wide a sector of the population as possible, using well-known names to do so. We hope that by reaching their followers, we can build awareness, breakdown taboos and encourage more people to take an HIV test and therefore know their status.”
INSTI will be slashing the cost of its Self-Test during National HIV Testing Week by 35%, meaning you can buy one for under £13 online.
More information on the INSTI HIV Self Test can be found here: https://www.hivhometest.com/
“Over 100,000 people are living with HIV in the UK and every year 5,000 people are diagnosed with the virus. Globally, nearly 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the deadliest illnesses of all time. It makes sense to know your HIV status and get it diagnosed early, while it is easier to treat. That’s why I am supporting National HIV Awareness Week and INSTI, the world’s fastest HIV test.”
Dr Hilary Jones:
“While new cases of HIV have been dropping among young people in the UK, a study last year showed that it’s the opposite in the over 50s. HIV rates are climbing in this age group and their GPs are often not aware that they are at risk. Over 50s are more likely to be infected through heterosexual sex and to have more advanced virus when it’s finally diagnosed, making it harder to treat and potentially life-threatening. It’s therefore vitally important that people, who are potentially newly single and becoming sexually active with new partners, or indeed have reached the menopause and therefore think there is no need to protect themselves, do not become complacent about HIV.”
“Whether you are straight, gay, bi, or however you describe your sexuality, it’s your responsibility to protect your sexual health and to know your HIV status. That’s why I am supporting National HIV Testing Week and giving HIV the finger with the #onlyoneminute campaign. You know, it only takes a ‘little prick’ to take a test and you will know your results within 60 seconds.”
“It’s true that the fight against HIV and Aids has made significant progress and today, millions of people living with HIV are leading healthy and proactive lives, but we still have a mountain to climb. That’s why I am supporting National HIV Testing Week and INSTI, the world’s fastest HIV test, helping to smash taboos, breakdown discrimination and shape attitudes towards HIV testing. You can get tested by your GP, at charitable organisations or at home.”