Prince Harry’s inspiring words encourage those with HIV/AIDS to not be scared of their diagnosis

June 8, 2018

November 15, 2016

Prince Harry paid a visit to a sexual health charity, the Naz Project, in Fulham, London wearing his and the Suits actress’, Meghan Markle, matching blue-beaded bracelet.

The 32-year-old stepped out on November 15 to continue his work in raising awareness for the fight against HIV/AIDS. The royal met with staff and supporters of the NAZ charity, which specializes in supporting the sexual health and HIV/AIDS needs of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities in London.

Harry learned how the charity provides culturally appropriate services and a supportive environment, enabling people to access healthcare. During the charity visit, the royal guest of honor was also treated to a special performance by the Joyful Noise Choir, which is a comprised of people from all walks of life who are living with HIV. Harry smiled and bopped his head along listening to the group as they rehearsed for the nOSCARS – highlight the programs, people and media that challenge HIV and homophobic stigma – later that evening.

Following the performance, Harry chatted with singers on stage. Five HIV positive members had agreed to be photographed with the royal, however the Duke of Cambridge’s brother encouraged others to join in and relinquish the fear of the stigma that surrounds their diagnosis.

“I don’t want to be here in 10 years talking to you guys and saying we’re making a difference. There’s no reason why we can’t turn this around in two or three years,” the Prince told them. “Not talking about something can actually kill you. People are happy to talk about their youngest child having cancer, that might even kill them, but the other child who has HIV, they don’t talk about that.”

He continued: “Thirty years ago it was pretty much a death sentence but so many people have put blood, sweat and tears into essentially fixing the problem. For some reason though there is a large group of people who don’t know that things have come so far. We have got to do this and people have got to hear it from you, they don’t want to hear it from me.”

Within minutes of the royal’s words, twenty additional singers posed for photos with Harry knowing it was going to be released for publication. The scene evoked memories of Princess Diana shaking hands with a HIV patient to show there was nothing “dangerous” about it.

Members of the Joyful Noise Choir told Prince George’s uncle that the HIV test he took earlier this year was “one of the greatest things you ever did.” The royal replied, “It was one of the easiest things I ever did.”

Harry has long been a supporter of the fight against HIV and AIDS. In July the royal teamed up with Sir Elton John at the International Aids Conference in Durban, South Africa. The Prince delivered a speech, saying: “We cannot lose a sense of urgency, because despite all the progress we have made, HIV remains among the most pressing and urgent of global challenges – 1.1m people died of AIDS and 2.1m were infected last year alone.”

The Prince was a hit with staff and supporters at the engagement Photo: Peter Nicholls PA Wire/PA Images

“So it is time for a new generation of leaders to step forward. It is time for us to step up to make sure no young person feels any shame in asking for an HIV test,” he added. “It is time for us to step up to make sure that girls and boys with HIV aren’t kept from playing with their friends, classmates, and neighbors. It is time for us to step up and acknowledge that stigma and discrimination still act as the greatest barrier to us defeating this disease once and for all.”

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