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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle make first joint public engagement at World AIDS Day event

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Prince Harry used his first official public engagement with his future wife Meghan Markle to visit at World AIDS Day event held by the Terrence Higgins Trust.

The royal announced earlier this week that he was engaged to the American actress, and they plan to get married in May next year.

The couple were greeted by excited crowds in Nottingham as they arrived at the charity fair, and spent half an hour meeting members of the public.

The visit to the World AIDS Day event at the Nottingham Contemporary Exhibition Centre continued Harry’s fight against HIV/AIDS and the stigma that surrounds it.

Related: What is HIV? The facts and the myths explained

“I think it really underlines his great support for HIV as a cause,” Dominic Edwards, from the Terrence Higgins Trust, told the BBC.

The event was held to encourage people to get tested for HIV.

Earlier this year, Prince Harry made a plea on BBC One for people to get regularly tested.

“If you’re not going to get tested for yourself and you’re not going to go and get tested for your loved ones that you could possibly infect, then… I don’t know if it’s a selfish thing to say or not, but if you respect what my mother stood for, go and get tested for her,” Harry said in a documentary titled The Truth About HIV.

Related: Sink The Pink unveil fierce iMessage stickers to raise money for HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust

“It’s 20 years next year since she died, and 30 years ago she was in this hospital [HIV clinic Mildmay] and she did something that no-one else had ever done before.

“If she were still here today, she would probably get tested every month, just to prove a point.”

The prince added that he thinks it’s important for a straight man to campaign for HIV/AIDS awareness to abolish the misconception that it is a ‘gay’ disease.

“The issue itself needs a straight guy, mid-30s, to come in and try and normalise it,” Prince Harry said. “Once again, I’m fortunate enough to be in this position in order to make a difference.

“There’s so much stigma simply around a name or an acronym. It’s 2016 for god’s sake, we need to start rethinking this.

“Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. When you spell it out, you suddenly go, ‘it’s not actually that terrifying at all’.

“If you speak to someone who’s suffering from [AIDS], of course it’s terrifying because it can kill you, but the point I’m trying to make is, if you can’t even say the word without cringing or worrying or freaking out about it, how the hell are we going to help everybody and solve this problem before it gets too big?”

He added: “I think most people would admit that they’ve had sex without a condom, and there is always a moment, the next day probably, when you think to yourself, ‘I need to go and get a checkup’.

“Let’s start in the UK, lead by example, and then help everybody else.”

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