His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales and Barbadian superstar, Rihanna visited a barbershop set up in Heroes Square as part of the HIV and AIDS Awareness event ‘Man Aware’. Here they chatted with HIV counsellor, Fabian Sargeant. Photography: A.Miller/BGIS

His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales and Barbadian singer and songwriter, Rihanna showed the world the importance of knowing one’s HIV status.

They came together on World AIDS Day, December 1, for the Man Aware event in Heroes Square, Bridgetown. They sat side by side while they received individual pre-test HIV counselling.  When that was completed, they joked with each other and chatted a bit with the crowd.

When they were ready to take the Rapid Test, HRH, familiarly known as Prince Harry, pretended the finger prick hurt.

HIV Counsellor, Susette Neblett-Straughn asked him, “Do you want another one?”  He laughed and replied, “No, one is fine.”

It was Rihanna’s turn next.  Bravely taking her test, the “Shine Bright Like a Diamond” singer exclaimed: “Oh that was not bad; you made it seem like it hurt.”

Having to wait 20 minutes for their result, Prince Harry and Rihanna then viewed exhibits and stopped to chat with the males at the “barbershop”.

Youth Commissioner, Fabian Sargeant, explained that in Barbados, men gathered at the barbershop to have fun, talk and get haircuts.

“Men tell their barbers everything. The National HIV and AIDS Commission decided to use this environment to engage with, and educate men about the facts of HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other issues,” he said.

Prince Harry inquired about some of the strangest HIV rumours or myths that were often heard in the barbershop. The males in the barbershop stated: “Having sex with virgins; using two condoms and having sex in the sea.”

Commending the Barbershop HIV Education initiative, Prince Harry encouraged all men to get tested.

Later in the tour, HRH asked officials from the National HIV and AIDS Commission, whether HIV education was done in schools.

He was informed that there were sensitisation programmes in Barbadian schools, which focused on raising awareness about HIV, STIs, drugs and arming children with coping skills.

Prince Harry said he was happy that the younger generation was being educated and encouraged more discussion on HIV and STIs, stating it was very important to normalise such issues.

Rihanna added that she too was extremely proud of the efforts being done, and encouraged persons to get tested. When the tour was completed, they received their individual results privately.


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