14 July 2016
Every passing day, individuals – wealthy or not – the world over find new ways to use the ever-so-controversial social media to do positive things that could affect lives even more positively.
These individuals who daily take positive initiative are the reasons social media now does way much more than wasting young people’s time at spending numerous unproductive hours online.
Diamond Reynold set a good example when she used Facebook live streaming feature to record the moments following the shooting of her boyfriend, Philando Castile, by a police officer.
What this video did was that it allowed the world unlimited access to an occurrence that could have otherwise been swept under the carpet, or worse still, the story told differently.
With the release of her live video to a public platform like Facebook, the way social media has come to shape and define the discourse of many about the event has become even more monumental.
Diamond Reynold’s eyewitness video helped give a bird’s eye view of the moments right after a tragic and unfortunate incident making millions of viewers privy to information they would otherwise have been left out of.
Today, Thursday June 14 2016, the staff at Guys and St Thomas Hospital in London made use of the same Facebook live streaming feature to make viewers privy to an event that is more cheering than Reynold’s.
Prince Harry, the ginger-haired younger brother of the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, took a HIV test that was streamed live on Facebook to the Royal family’s page to raise awareness for HIV testing and de-stigmatisation.
The entire process before and after the HIV test was recorded, with the result – which was negative – announced to show how easy the HIV testing process is and emphasise the importance for everyone – both those at risk and those not at risk – to get tested regularly.
While HIV testing is a simple procedure, many people avoid getting tested for various reasons ranging from the perceived stigma associated with taking HIV test, to the fear of finding out the result is positive, even when it might be negative.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010 reported that about 55 per cent of adults aged between 18 years and 64 years had never been tested for HIV, and among people at higher risk for HIV infection, 28 per cent had never been tested.
A UNAIDS 2014 report showed that 19 million of the 35 million people living with HIV globally do not know their HIV status.
With this information serving as a background, Prince Harry’s simple action of taking a HIV test for the world to see has given a voice to the cause of encouraging everyone to get tested and to remove the stigma that has been associated with HIV and HIV testing.
Prince Harry will continue his work raising awareness on HIV and AIDS and will attend the World AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
Author: Aderonke Adeleke
Writer. Music lover. Movie junkie. Social Media Enthusiast. Aspiring dancer. Aspiring photographer. Social Introvert.