Prince Harry and openly gay rugby star Gareth Thomas have teamed up to raise awareness of the importance of HIV testing.
The pair met with UK gay rugby club the King’s Cross Steelers ahead of the UK’s upcoming National HIV Testing Week.
Two months ago, the former Wales rugby player (pictured above, right) revealed he is living with HIV in an emotional Twitter video.
“I spoke out about living with HIV not for me, but for all those people who are struggling and don’t have a platform,” he said.
“For them, I want to do everything I can to challenge stigma and outdated views about HIV.
“I want to help others to show them they don’t need to live in fear and live in shame. You can still live with HIV and be healthy and live a normal life.”
Thomas said Prince Harry “has done so much to normalise HIV testing and fight the stigma” globally.
“The support from the royals has been magnificent,” he said.
“And it’s not just for me, it’s to show that we accept people living with HIV and that carries enormous weight.”
Prince Harry praises ‘excellent role model’ Gareth Thomas
A message on Prince Harry’s official Instagram page praised Thomas for demonstrating “you can be HIV positive and live a healthy, strong, fulfilling life.”
“Not enough people know that thanks to the work of so many over the years, HIV is no longer a death sentence and testing for it is quick and easy,” the post read.
“Today the Duke shared the magnitude of having someone like Gareth Thomas, one of our most legendary Welsh rugby players, demonstrate you can be HIV positive and live a healthy, strong, fulfilling life.
“Gareth is an excellent role model for anyone living in fear, and an amazing example of both physical and mental strength.
“An estimated 1 in 14 people in the UK live with HIV and are still undiagnosed. Please get tested and take control of your life and your health.”
View this post on Instagram
Gareth Thomas reveals HIV status after tabloid threats
Prince Harry has been a longtime advocate of HIV awareness, following in the footsteps of his mother Princess Diana.
Gareth Thomas, who came out as gay in 2009, took to Twitter in September to reveal he’s living with HIV.
He said he spoke out because a tabloid newspaper “put him through hell” by threatening to publish his status.
“Even though I’ve been forced to tell you this, I choose to fight, to educate and break the stigma,” he said.
At the time, Prince Harry praised Thomas an “absolute legend” who was “saving lives and shattering stigma”.
Thomas is now working with UK HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust’s new HIV commission.
For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.