Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas has spoken to the Duke of Sussex about how his HIV diagnosis inspired him to live his life fully and educate others about the virus.
Harry and the former Wales captain talked about the virus as part of a powerful new film released by the Terrence Higgins Trust to mark the national HIV Testing Week, which starts today.
In the video, which was filmed in the stands at Twickenham Stoop – home of the Rugby Harlequins Premiership club, Thomas tells Harry that when he received an HIV diagnosis that inspired him to educate others about the reality of the virus.
Harry shares a joke with former Wales rugby captain Gareth Thomas (right) and Chris Robshaw from Harlequins (left) when he was given a Harlequins kit for Archie's son on November 8
Prince Harry and his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales, have dedicated their lives to raising awareness about HIV and AIDS. Harry today was given a shirt for Archie's baby
He said that everyone must know their HIV status for a 'normalization test' and 'makes it easier for those who are afraid, who are afraid to advance.'
Thomas, who came out as gay in 2009, is considered the first British sportsman to announce to the public about living with a virus.
He told the Duke that his knowledge of HIV stalled in the 1980s and he thought he had been sentenced to death, but he now wanted to show life after an HIV diagnosis.
Thomas added: 'We do many things in our health – going to the dentist, going to the doctor. But when it comes to sexual health tests there is stigma and fear around it.
"We need to re-educate people to know that where we are now with HIV is not a death sentence, no and I am living proof."
Ahead of his meeting with the duke, charities Terrence Higgins Trust and National Aids Trust (NAT) announced Thomas as the commissioner of the first HIV Commission to end HIV transmission in 2030.
Thomas said: 'I have a new goal now. I want to do whatever I can to get rid of people's fear of HIV testing and just do it.
"Because I was not educated about HIV, I thought I had been sentenced to death when I was diagnosed and I didn't want anyone else to undergo it.
"I take one pill a day that keeps me healthy, which means I'm not at all afraid of transmitting HIV to my husband and means I'm healthy enough to do Ironman."
During their interview, the duke praised Thomas and said that what he did was 'extraordinary'.
He added: "I believe in what you do, it is extraordinary."
Duke of Sussex hugged former rugby player Gareth Thomas as he greeted him at Twickenham Stoop in London
In a recent interview, Gareth Thomas said he was compelled to think of suicide as a result of his diagnosis
Harry and his brother, the Duke of Cambridge, praised the Welshman for declaring himself HIV positive
Duke and Thomas also discussed how the rugby community can help reduce stigma by asking rugby players to be tested and knowing their status to help normalize HIV testing.
Terrence Higgins Trust, the leading HIV charity in the United Kingdom, paid tribute to the impact of the two men in 'challenging perceptions about HIV and overcoming stigma'.
The charity said that after Thomas revealed his HIV status publicly in September, the agency saw a surge in orders for his HIV test kit, which reflected a five-fold increase when Harry was tested directly on Facebook in 2016.
Testing for HIV has never been easier and can be done in a variety of different places, including sexual health clinics, general practitioner operations and at home, he added.
New statistics from Public Health England estimate that about one in 14 people living with HIV in the UK remains undiagnosed – while 43% of people diagnosed last year were diagnosed late, which after damage to the immune system has begun.
Charities say that's why HIV testing is so important because someone who is diagnosed early and accesses treatment – like Thomas – has the same life expectancy as someone else.
Access to effective HIV treatment also ensures that the virus cannot be transmitted, he added.
Ian Green, chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: "We are proud to unite the Duke of Sussex and Gareth Thomas – two people who have done so much to challenge people's perceptions about HIV and overcome stigma.
"That's because when they talk about the reality of HIV, people listen and act.
"I hope Duke and Gareth's work to normalize HIV testing has a big impact during the National HIV Test Week and anyone who was previously too afraid to test see that it's always better to know."
Duke and the sportsman meet the club players at Twickenham Stoop, Harlequins home, ahead of the National HIV Test Week
Harry and Thomas decide to work together after the king texted the Welshman asking to chat a few days after he revealed his HIV status in a Twitter video.
Thomas said Harry had done so much to normalize HIV testing and fight stigma throughout the world.
The couple laughed and chatted as they walked through the rugby yard
The former wing-back, who captained England's Wales and Lions, is considered the first British sportsman to announce to the public about living with HIV
WHAT IS HIV?
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is an incurable sexually transmitted disease that attacks the immune system. If not treated, it actually destroys the immune system.
HOW DOES MANY PEOPLE HAVE?
HIV has killed around 35 million people since the 1980s. Around 37 million people in the world today have it.
WHAT IS THAT?
HIV is a virus that damages cells in the immune system and weakens the ability to fight infections and diseases.
Without treatment, HIV can turn into AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), which is a syndrome (or, series of symptoms) not a virus.
In layman's terms, AIDS is referred to as the 'final stage HIV'. A person suffers from AIDS when his immune system is too weak to fight infection. AIDS cannot be transmitted from one person to another; HIV can.
WHAT IS A PROGNOSIS?
Those diagnosed with HIV must undergo lifelong treatment to prevent it from turning into AIDS, which is often fatal.
A decade ago, HIV positive people were given a shorter life expectancy because of drugs, suppressing the immune system, making patients very vulnerable to fatal infections.
At present, HIV medicines are far more sophisticated.
They enable HIV positive people to live as long as others are healthy.
They can also suppress viral load in such a way that it is undetectable and cannot be transmitted, which means it is possible to have an intimate relationship without transmitting it.
The former player has been appointed as a member of the HIV Commission, created by NAT (National AIDS Trust) and Terrence Higgins Trust.
Thomas said about his appointment: 'This is something I feel very honored to be an HIV commissioner with a group of people who plan to end zero new HIV infections in the UK in the next 10 years, and that is the first country in the world. the world to do that.
"I have a small platform, I don't know how big it is, but I know I have a platform, and I understand why there are so many people who live in fear, live in shame, because I live in fear and I live in shame. & # 39;
Three years ago Prince Harry underwent live HIV testing on Facebook – triggering a five-fold increase in orders for HIV testing from the Terrence Higgins Trust.
And last year, he requested that an HIV test be seen as 'totally normal' in a specially recorded message.
The Duke of Sussex said people should not be ashamed or ashamed to take a test for a deadly virus.
Instead, he said that HIV testing must be treated in the same way as people protect against 'viruses such as flu and flu.'
In a two-minute video message, the young kingdom wears a red ribbon as solidarity with all who live with HIV.
He said: "Taking an HIV test is something to be proud of – not something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.
"As much as you protect yourself now from diseases and viruses such as flu and flu, you can also protect your health by taking an HIV test."
Princess Diana is famous for helping to reduce the stigma of AIDS sufferers in April 1987 when she shook hands with a gay man who was dying of the disease.
Back in the eighties, when the photo was taken at London's Middlesex Hospital, having AIDS was considered a death sentence. '
Prince Harry has long advocated the importance of HIV testing both in the UK and throughout the world. When he was tested for HIV directly on Facebook two years ago, there was a five-fold increase in orders for HIV testing from the Terrence Higgins Trust
Terrence Higgins Trust, a voluntary service provider for HIV and sexual health services, said the day after Welshman's announcement was the busiest charity event since launching an independent HIV test kit.
The National HIV Test Week will run from 16 to 22 November.
It aims to increase awareness and acceptance of HIV testing by removing the stigma surrounding the virus.
This helps improve early diagnosis and treatment of HIV, thereby reducing subsequent transmission.
How Diana's handshake with Aids patients changed the world view of this disease
In April 1987, Princess Diana shook hands with a gay man who was dying of AIDS.
Putri Rakyat touches the anonymous man without wearing gloves, challenging the assumption previously believed that the disease can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact.
He was quoted as saying: 'HIV does not make people dangerous to find out.
'You can shake hands and hug them. Heaven knows they need it. '
At that time, Princess Diana opened the first unit in the UK that exclusively treated HIV / AIDS patients at London Middlesex Hospital.
Princess Diana is famous as the first member of the Royal Family to touch someone with AIDS.
It is unclear whether this photo is the first time he made physical contact with an HIV infected patient.
Putri Rakyat will also regularly visit the Lighthouse, both in the presence of the media and those who do not.
According to Dr. Rosemary Gillespie, chief executive of the HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust: 'London Lighthouse offers residential care and child care for men, women and children living with HIV and AIDS, and provides protection and leeway to people who are marginalized and abandoned because they are diagnosed '.
Princess Diana was the protector of the National AIDS Trust at the time of her death in 1997.