Sir Elton John and Prince Harry have left messages of support for fighting HIV/AIDS – while attending the International AIDS Conference.
Prince Harry has recently focused more of his engagements around HIV – even taking a HIV test himself in a Facebook Live video earlier this month.
The fifth-in-line to the throne has visited a number of HIV clinics in recent months, and has also spoken about his late mother’s work on the issue.
He said: “She started very punchy [on AIDS]. She smashed the stigma around HIV on more than one occasion. It had a huge impact, and a huge impact on my life as well.”
Attending the International AIDS Conference in Durban, he signed the UN AIDS ProTEST wall alongside Sir Elton John, before the pair appeared together at a panel.
The Prince wrote on the wall: “Get tested! Why wouldn’t you? Harry”.
Sir Elton wrote: “Together we can make a change”.
In his speech to the conference, the Prince celebrated that HIV is no longer a “death sentence” as it was when his mother famously championed the cause.
He said “At the time of the first International AIDS conference, HIV was a death sentence. Treatment was not widely available in the developed world, let alone in poorer regions.
“Stigma kept HIV-positive people from talking openly about their condition and kept vulnerable people from having the courage to step into a clinic and ask for a test.
“But thanks to the work of leaders in the fight against HIV – people like Nelson Mandela, Sir Elton John, the brave activists of TAG and ACT UP, people like Dr Peter Piot, and like my mother, Princess Diana – we have made huge progress.”
The Prince continued: “When my mother held the hand of a man dying of AIDS in an East London hospital, no one would have imagined that just over a quarter of a century later treatment would exist that could see HIV-positive people live full, healthy, loving lives.
“But we now face a new risk – the risk of complacency.
“As people with HIV live longer, AIDS is a topic that has drifted from the headlines. And with that drift of attention, we risk a real drift of funding and of action to beat the virus.”