Health

This high-tech vending machine gives free HIV test kits

By Kitty Knowles 9 August 2017
Summary

A digital vending machine to help spot HIV sooner.

There are over 100,000 people living with HIV in Britain. More than half are gay or bisexual men.

Although HIV cannot be cured, an early diagnosis can allow patients to live fulfilling lives for many years.

That’s why, in a bid to improve the nation’s health, high-tech HIV testing points are now being dropped into the communities that need them most.

That means you can now walk into Brighton Sauna at any time of day or night and complete an HIV blood test for free.

HIV kit vending machine

A collaboration between the Martin Fisher Foundation, test kit makers BioSure, designers, clinicians and researchers, the new machines are designed to make testing more convenient, confidential and discreet.

You simply follow instructions of the test point’s digital touch-screen, and complete a simple finger-prick blood test.

Your results are then available in just 15 minutes.

The service, which is the first of its kind, will be accessible 24 hours a day and is free.

It’s hoped that further machines will soon be placed across Brighton and Hove (and beyond), to increase testing rates and help more people receive earlier diagnoses.

Going global

The HIV test point project has been supported by Public Health England’s HIV prevention innovation fund, making Brighton and Hove the first UK city to be awarded ‘Fast Track City’ status.

This is part of a global urban initiative to ensure that 90% of people living with HIV being diagnosed, 90% are on treatment and 90% virally suppressed.

“This is a great example of true partnership working, combined with innovative technology,” said project leader and local HIV consultant Gillian Dean.

Self-testing empowers individuals to take control of their own health, and live longer, happier lives.

When it comes to digital testing points, we hope it’s a case of first stop Britain, next stop, the world.