Like the rest of his family, Prince Harry is no stranger to starting conversations on social media and off about highly stigmatized health issues so that the world can be a better, safer place. But on Thursday, the royal took his dedication to the cause a step further by live streaming his HIV test results at Guys and St. Thomas Hospital in London.
The clinic's lead health adviser and psychosexual counselor, Robert Palmer, guided Harry through the test, taking care to answer all of his questions. The experience was broadcast on Facebook Live — where it received over 800,000 views — in the hopes of encouraging others to follow suit. Just getting people in the door to have the test done, Harry observed, was half the battle.
Palmer gave the prince a finger prick test, which instantly reveals a reactive or non-reactive result. If the result is reactive, then blood is drawn and sent to a lab to determine if the patient is HIV-positive.
"I'm still nervous," the prince said before the test, demonstrating just how normal it is anxious during blood tests.
But after a quick, painless prick, the prince only had a few moments to wait before he found out the results were non-reactive, or negative.
"It's amazing how quick it is," he said. "Some blood tests you have to wait weeks."
Harry stressed the importance of everyone getting tested, regardless of whether they think they're at risk or not.
While people with HIV can still live long and healthy lives with the proper treatment, it all starts with that first visit to the doctors. One in eight people living with HIV are unaware of their infection, which is why Prince Harry and medical professionals are fighting to end the stigma associated with testing.
"To normalize the situation, surely it's better if everyone goes and gets tested," he said.
The U.S. has many free HIV testing sites. Contact the CDC to locate the closest HIV testing clinic.