(EDGE) A gay bath house in Brighton, England is making headlines over its vending machine that distributes free HIV self-testing kits, Reuters reports.
The vending machine, which is a project of the Martin Fisher Foundation (MFF), distributes fingerprick self HIV tests free of charge. The kits, which are collected anonymously, provide results within minutes.
"(The aim) is to... encourage people who haven't tested so far to test," said doctor Gillian Dean of MFF.
The program is proving to be a hit. Reuters notes that in the first six weeks since the vending machine was installed, it dispensed more tests than those collected by HIV volunteers at the bath house in the preceding six months.
Although new to England, the concept of using vending machines to distribute HIV testing kits began last year in China, when universities started offering students a discreet way to test for the virus using soft drink vending machines in response to the growing number of HIV infections among younger people. The Independent reports.