Man on a mission! Prince Harry continued his bid to promote HIV awareness around the world on Tuesday, November 15, with a visit to a sexual health charity in London.
The 32-year-old royal met with staff people involved with NAZ, an organization providing support and advice for minority ethnic communities in the British capital.
Harry has often spoken of breaking down the stigma around HIV, and he continued to push the movement within minutes of arriving at Hurlingham Club in West London. Only five HIV-positive members of the charity’s Joyful Noise Choir had agreed to be photographed with him, but after some motivational talk about the need to go public, nearly everyone in the 25-member group happily posed for pictures.
Dressed in a checked blue flannel shirt and the same beaded bracelet girlfriend Meghan Markle has been photographed wearing, philanthropic Harry encouraged the choir singers to not be afraid of the stigma around their diagnosis.
“I don’t want to be here in 10 years talking to you guys and saying we’re making a difference,” he pleaded. “There’s no reason why we can’t turn this around in two or three years. 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.”
Harry’s encouragement was just what some of the members needed as they got up to join a group photo with the prince. “The weight of his presence really resonated, and if he can move that many people in four minutes, we can really make a difference in the next two or three years,” the charity’s chief executive Marion Wadibia said afterwards.
Members of the choir told Prince Harry that the HIV test he took in July was “one of the greatest things you ever did.” He replied: “It was one of the easiest things I ever did.”
The Prince was meeting members of the choir a few hours before the charity’s annual awards evening. NAZ, which was founded in 1991, provides sexual health services to minority ethnic communities, where views about HIV are sometimes negative or carry homophobic stigma.
In June, Harry announced a bigger focus on the fight against HIV and AIDS. A Kensington Palace spokesman told Us Weekly at the time, “Building on his decade of experience in supporting young people with HIV in Lesotho through his charity Sentebale, the prince is now determined to help his generation understand that the battle against the disease has not yet been won and still needs fighting.”