Prince Harry has spoken at a roundtable discussion on preventing HIV/AIDS, stressing the importance of increased education for youth in the UK and worldwide.
The Prince spoke at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on Monday at an event organised by his charity—Sentebale—that provides medical care to HIV positive young people in Botswana and Lesotho.
“To me it is totally absurd that in today’s world that young people, the first time they know or the first time they hear anything about HIV and AIDS, is probably by the time it is too late,” Prince Harry said.
Prince Harry was joined by three activists— Tlotlo Moilwa, Ts’epang Maboee and Kananelo Khalia—who shared their experiences of living with HIV.
18-year-old Tlotlo Moilwa, who lost both of her parents to AIDS, said: “I decided to discuss my status so I can grant them courage, I can give hope to those who are hopeless.”
Kananelo said he had a dream of "keeping the next generation alive" and letting those who have been diagnosed with HIV that "there is still life after being tested positive".
The Prince also spoke about breaking down the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS.
“Whether it’s in the education system here in the UK, whether it’s across Africa or across the world, HIV needs to be treated exactly the same as any other disease.”
"Between us, we can hopefully eradicate the stigma and give these young people the opportunity to stand and say 'I’ve lived it, I’ve breathed it and you know what? I’m going to make a difference because I don’t want anybody else my age to go through exactly what I went through'” he said.
Prince Harry visited Barbados on World AIDS Day in 2016 and was joined by Rihanna in publicly getting tested for HIV/AIDS.
The pair underwent a finger-prick procedure at a HIV drop-in centre in Bridgetown to show people how easy the process is and to fight the stigma associated with HIV in the Caribbean and globally.