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New HIV Vending Machine Distributes Free In-Home Tests

A new vending machine seeks to revolutionize how gay and bisexual men can test for the virus. The vending machine, the first of it’s kind, was installed at a gay sauna in Brighton to help fight HIV in Britain. The machine dispenses free finger prick test, that patrons can do on their own in the privacy of their own home., with results in minutes.

The Martin Fisher Foundation is behind the vending machine and is seeking to “encourage people who haven't tested so far to test.” Hesitations to getting tested are anonymity and the limited hours of testing clinics. The vending machine helps to remove these barriers. It seems to be working because the machine has dispensed more tests in the first six weeks, than volunteers had in the last six months at the sauna.

It is estimated that 14% of the 100,000 people in Britain living with HIV, don’t know they have it, according to government figures. The Martin Fisher Foundation hopes that if they can reach that 14% and get them tested, the epidemic could be drawn to a conclusion.

Getting tested for HIV can be a nerve wracking experience, especially if it is your first time. Also, HIV clinics don’t always have hours that are friendly for people. I’ve been lucky to have great doctors who make sure I keep up on my tests. I hope this vending machine takes off and becomes the norm. Quick, efficient, and in-home HIV testing could really help reduce the spread of the virus. 

H/T: NBC News