The duke described himself as “a typical guy” who just wants to “fix things”, and said he feels an “obligation” to try to continue Diana, Princess of Wales’ bid to remove stigma surrounding the illness.
Speaking from California, Prince Harry said: “Every single one of us has a duty, or at least an opportunity, to get tested ourselves or to make it easier for everybody else to get tested. And then it just becomes a regular thing like anything else.
“This testing week, especially in the UK, or wherever you are in the world, go and get a test. Let people know that you know your status. Do it!”
Asked what made him so passionate about advocating over HIV, Harry said: “Once you get to meet people and you see the suffering around the world, I certainly can’t turn my back on that.
“Then add in the fact that my mum’s work was unfinished, I feel obligated to try and continue that as much as possible.
“I could never fill her shoes, especially in this particular space, but because of what she did and what she stood for and how vocal she was about this issue… it’s a converging of all these different pieces.
“There’s a way out of it, and if there’s a way out of it and we know there’s a solution, I’m like a typical guy. I just want to help fix things.”
Harry described how the virus used to be a death sentence, but was now a “manageable disease”.
He praised his mother’s empathy and curiosity, and said: “What my mum did and so many other people did at that time was to smash that wall down, and kick the door open and say, ‘No, when people are suffering, then we need to learn more’.
“I’ve seen huge change. People are able and happy to talk about HIV so much more openly, but the stigma still exists and therefore the testing is still a problem.”
When Harry publicly took an HIV test alongside the singer Rihanna in 2016, the broadcast contributed to a 500% increase in the number of people requesting a test on the Terrence Higgins Trust website.
He spoke of how HIV testing had dropped 30% during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Former Wales full-back Thomas, who revealed he was HIV positive in 2019, said: “It wouldn’t be scary if you understood what living with HIV in 2022 is.”
Sharing his daily medical routine with Harry, he said: “At 6am, every single day, my alarm goes off.
“I take my HIV medication which is one tablet, and I feel that my day then begins.”
You can conduct HIV tests in the privacy of your own home or at drop-in clinics where there are people to talk to.
He added: “The sooner you find out if you’re positive then the sooner you can start treatment. If you leave it too late, then it can have circumstances that are irreplaceable, irreparable.”
How to order a free HIV home test kit in the UK
As part of National HIV Testing Week, free HIV home test kits can be ordered in the UK at www.startswithme.org.uk or tests can be carried out at local sexual health or community clinics.
Tackle HIV, a campaign led by Thomas in partnership with ViiV Healthcare and the Terrence Higgins Trust, aims to tackle stigma and misunderstanding around HIV.
National HIV Testing Week is run by Terrence Higgins Trust on behalf of the Department of Health.