Health advocates who promote safe sex to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS have to be pretty darn creative to garner 2.1 million views of a video.
Not the case, though, when @KensingtonPalace, the official Twitter account for the Royal Family, tweets.
To promote this week’s 21st International AIDS Conference, Prince Harry made social media history. The fifth-in-line to the throne underwent an HIV test live to show the ease—and importance—of being checked.
Video of the test, which included an unidentified health worker walking him through the procedure, was streamed live on the British royal family’s Facebook page. “It is amazing how quick it is,” the 31-year-old Harry said during his appointment at a London hospital. The famously red-headed royal added: “So whether you’re a man, woman, gay, straight, black or white—even ginger—why wouldn’t you come and have a test?”
Ian Green, chief executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said in a statement: “Prince Harry’s decision to take an HIV test, live on social media, is a groundbreaking moment in the fight against HIV.”
Prince Harry appeared relieved in the video when the test was completed and the negative result was delivered.
The prince was praised for his “genuine and personal commitment” to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS. His advocacy is being compared to his mother’s legacy. Many news reports recalled images of Princess Diana in the 1980s hugging children suffering from the disease.
Consistent marketing and public awareness efforts—like that of Prince Harry’s—can help further reduce the spread of the disease.