We’ve seen the way members of the British royal family can be an influence for good, but this might be the one of best examples yet.
Orders for a new, free at-home HIV test spiked five times higher after Prince Harry underwent an HIV test in video streamed live on Facebook.
The Terrence Higgins Trust, which is “the largest voluntary sector provider of HIV and sexual health services in the U.K,” according to its website, launched a short pilot program in June to offer free versions of the at-home HIV test BioSure. The test usually retails for around $33.
According to a press release from the Trust, the program saw success on its own, with about 4,000 tests delivered during a first-come, first-serve promotional push that lasted two weeks. Orders continued to be placed even as the pilot period wound down, with 32 placed on July 12. However, after the segment with Prince Harry aired, orders “surged five-fold to 150 per day,” the Trust announced.
Harry was tested at the Guys and St. Thomas’ hospital in London earlier this month in an attempt to educate, de-stigmatize and highlight how easy and painless it is to be tested for HIV. Thanks to tests like BioSure in the U.K. and OraQuick in the U.S., which promise results in less than an hour from the comfort of your own home, the process is easier than ever.
Dr. Michael Brady, medical director for Terrence Higgins Trust, said the free pilot program definitely had an impact.
“The pilot self testing scheme has been a real success in terms of developing our plans for increasing HIV testing in the future, but also was important for the people who took the test and may not otherwise have known their HIV status. For one in five, this was their first ever HIV test,” he said.
Upon seeing the “great news,” Kensington Palace tweeted to thank the Trust for its “great work in tackling the fear and stigma around #HIV testing.”
Great news, indeed. Check out some at-home options for HIV testing or find a testing center near you.