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Harry calls on young people to take up fight against Aids

The duke is in Amsterdam attending a world conference on Aids.

The Duke of Sussex has urged the world’s young people to take on the challenge of tackling the Aids epidemic.

Harry, who is in Amsterdam attending a world conference on Aids, told young delegates supported by his charity Sentebale they were the key.

Across the globe, the numbers of new transmissions among the crucial 10-19 age group is rising while in contrast progress has been made in the very young and adults.

The duke has in recent years followed in the footsteps of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales – a pioneer in the fight against Aids – by raising awareness about HIV/Aids and encouraging people to get tested and know their HIV status.

Speaking during a discussion session, Harry told the young advocates from Sentebale’s Let Youth Lead programme: “More and more leaders, they should be using the younger generation and the experiences you have – I’m 33 years old and I already feel out of touch.”

The Duke of Sussex meets youth delegates from his charity Sentebale (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The duke added: “We have to put power into the hands of the younger generation.

“Because that’s where the solutions are going to come from, that’s where the passion and engagement is coming from as well.”

Harry went on to say: “And now we are facing another generation of complacency where a lot of people think ‘Well, you know it’s solved, it’s done’. It’s not – this is where it has to start, this is where you guys are going to take over and solve it.”

Earlier, the duke heard young delegates from countries including Zimbabwe, India and the US speak about how Aids has affected their lives.

The Aids 2018 conference is billed as the largest gathering on HIV and Aids in the world, bringing together more than 15,000 scientists, activists, health providers, policy makers and global leaders.

Harry told the discussion group that the young had the power to solve issues quicker and they should not just be a couple of people “on the side of a platform”.

His charity Sentebale focuses on supporting HIV-positive young people in the African nations of Lesotho and Botswana and has, through its Let Youth Lead programme, given young men and women a voice at the conference on the issue of Aids and how if affects their lives.

They will be meeting major funders and policy makers during the conference after Harry said he wanted to use his position as a royal to give them a platform.

Women from the Treatment Action Campaign call for the use of Dolutegravir (DTG) medicine at Aids 2018 (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The duke’s mission to help in the fight against Aids mirrors the efforts of Diana, who in the late 1980s, when many still believed the disease could be contracted through casual contact, sat on the sickbed of a man with Aids and held his hand.

Both publicly and privately she supported the work of those helping patients, with late-night trips to east London’s Mildmay HIV hospice, and serving as patron of the National Aids Trust.

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