1st December 2021 by Jason Vincent
Building digital vending solutions for a better global health
Through the HIV Commission, the UK government has pledged to end new cases of HIV within the decade in England. Testing is a crucial element to ending the global AIDS epidemic, and easy access to testing is a key challenge.
Over the last few years, aeguana has worked closely with The Martin Fisher Foundation to develop technology that increases access to testing, thereby directly increasing testing rates within specific communities and helping to detect undiagnosed cases of HIV. The results couldn’t make us prouder!
The first digital vending machine designed to distribute free HIV self-test kits has been up and running at the Brighton Sauna since 2017. We created a unique software solution to suit this specific scenario thanks to the fully customizable user interface and vibrant touch screen.
The machine performs age verification and collects anonymous user information like age, sex, and testing history and can be customised to capture additional details where required. This valuable data helps health services obtain a clearer picture and optimise resource deployment.
In direct response to the feedback received, The Martin Fisher Foundation has requested an upgrade of the initial concept to expand testing capabilities to other STIs. The digital vending machines now provide a single point of access for sexual health & HIV testing services. Each device dispenses highly accurate self-test kits to detect sexually transmitted diseases manufactured by leading partners.
This HIV test self-service solution has proved very successful and is now operating internationally following support by the WHO. Since its initial inception, similar machines have been installed in New Zealand, Australia, and Japan.
This year The Martin Fisher Foundation and Brighton and Sussex Medical School, in collaboration with the Centre of Infectious Diseases in Zambia (CIDRZ), have installed two self-service dispensing machines in youth-friendly venues in Lusaka.
These devices have been co-designed with young people in Lusaka and tailored to suit their specific requirements. The adaptability of the hardware platform aeguana developed has enabled the customisation of the vending machines and their digital engagement to dispense HIV oral self-tests, as well as condoms and sanitary towels.
As leaders in automated retail, we’re always looking at new ways to fuse hardware and software to solve problems, enhance people’s lives and reduce environmental impact. The solutions developed in partnership with The Martin Fisher Foundation, which have a massive effect on improving public health, give us great satisfaction and motivate us to “make it possible.”