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Prince Harry Launches Campaign to De-stigmatize HIV/AIDS

Prince Harry Launches Campaign to De-stigmatize HIV/AIDS

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The British royal reveals personal secrets as part of his #FeelNoShame initiative

Photos: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

For Harry, Prince of Wales, being fourth in line to the throne of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland doesn't mean he can take things easy. Seeing as William and Kate, future King and Queen (after his father Charles), already have an heir (with a spare on the way), Harry doesn't spend his days learning to reign. Instead, he devotes exhaustive time and energies to charity work. While patron to a number of organizations -- like all his royal relations -- Harry has launched a new initiative which truly shows him to be his mother's son.

In 1987, Princess Diana became the first high-profile celebrity to be photographed touching an HIV/AIDS infected person. In the words of President Bill Clinton, "When so many still believed that AIDS could be contracted through casual contact, Princess Diana sat on the sickbed of a man with AIDS and held his hand. If the Princess of Wales could hold the hand of a man with AIDS, who could claim to be above it? She showed the world that people with AIDS deserved not isolation, but compassion. It helped change world opinion, helped give hope to people with AIDS, and helped save lives of people at risk." Her work with HIV/AIDS and efforts to end the use of landmines, especially, were internationally celebrated, and clearly left a mark on Harry.

In 2006, Prince Harry teamed up with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho to launch Sentebale, a charity aimed at helping the young people of the small southern African nation. Lesotho has the third highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the world. In a country with a total population of about 2 million, it is estimated that 200,000 children have lost at least one parent to the pandemic.

In a video address released today in conjunction with World AIDS Day, Harry notes that the stigma that remains around the disease means that many young people stay quiet about their status, and therefore go without the medical support needed to survive. To combat this, he and his charity have started the #FeelNoShame initiative. The idea is to reveal personal secrets and demonstrate the power and importance of living a life without shame.

Watch Prince Harry's message explaining the importance of #FeelNoShame below:

And here's His Royal Highness' first secret:

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