Britain's Prince Harry yesterday got to see how a rapid HIV test is done here during his first visit to Singapore.
At Eden Hall, the British High Commissioner's official residence, the 32-year-old royal watched as a volunteer got tested for HIV at non-governmental organisation Action For Aids' (AFA's) mobile testing van. The test result could be obtained within half an hour.
With him were Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor, chair of the National HIV/Aids Policy Committee, British High Commissioner to Singapore Scott Wightman and AFA president Roy Chan.
Prince Harry, brother of Prince William and grandson of reigning Queen Elizabeth II, is known to be active in Aids charity work.
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At a reception later, Prince Harry spoke to AFA staff and volunteers to learn more about the challenges facing the HIV-positive community in Singapore.
AFA general manager Sumita Banerjee said stigma and discrimination remain pervasive, and play the biggest part in deterring young people here from getting tested for HIV. "The stigma associated with HIV stems from ignorance and it tends to affect young people disproportionately as they are still evolving emotionally," she said.
Professor Chan said it is crucial for everyone to know their HIV status. "If you are HIV positive, you can be linked to care - the earlier treatment starts, the better the prognosis and outcomes. If you are HIV negative, you can rest assured and receive advice on the various ways to stay HIV uninfected."
Prince Harry later took part in an iftar - the breaking of fast during the Muslim month of Ramadan - with 80 young Singaporeans at Jamiyah Children's Home in Guillemard Crescent.
There, he received a traditional welcome by 10 hand drummers and was shown a demonstration of silat movements led by the home's silat coach and former world champion Sheik Alauddin Yacoob Marican.
The prince will be playing in the Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Cup at the Singapore Polo Club today to raise funds for young people living with and affected by HIV in Lesotho and Botswana.
Sentebale is a charity set up by Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho in 2006. It aims to provide psychosocial support for children living with HIV in southern Africa.
On Wednesday, Prince Harry will travel to Sydney to mark the launch of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018. He founded the global sporting event for "wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women".
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Prince Harry's Day 1 in Singapore. http://str.sg/4LBo