40 years ago, Terrence "Terry" Higgins was one of the first people in the UK to die of an AIDS-related illness. Afterward, a trust was developed under his name with hopes to personalize and humanize AIDS in a very public way.
At a time when many feared being in the same room as someone who was HIV-positive, Princess Diana showed her support. During the opening of the UK’s first specialist HIV/AIDS ward in London in 1987, she said, “HIV does not make people dangerous to know. You can shake their hands and give them a hug.”
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Terrence Higgins Trust, Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, penned an open letter praising his mother’s involvement in helping to erase the stigma around HIV.
“I’ve been involved with the Terrence Higgins Trust for a number of years, and the fight to end this epidemic is a big piece of my mum’s legacy,” said the Duke of Sussex in his letter, recently posted to Twitter.
He continued, “Like many, my mother grew up in a world where HIV was likely a death sentence. Yet, in the midst of all that uncertainty, she led with empathy, finding the humanity all around her and demonstrating the power of connection in the face of fear. While my mother did not live to see the success of today’s treatments, I feel immense pride in being able to continue her advocacy with you.”
Prince Harry further details that the main goal of the trust is still to end new HIV transmissions, with a pledge to make England the first country to end new HIV cases by 2030.
After offering his congratulations on the 40-year milestone, Prince Harry closed the letter with a hopeful message, saying, “May the next one we celebrate signal an end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic for all.”