Electronic vending machines for dispensing rapid HIV self-testing kits: A case study

Oral fluid rapid HIV tests were recently cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for over-the-counter use.  Since oral rapid tests can be purchased and self-administered privately at any time and from any location, they can be less stigmatizing and may improve HIV testing rates.

CBAM’s Director of Innovation, Dr. Sean Young, and his colleagues conducted a study to find out whether it would be possible to set up vending machines to dispense the tests. They searched for and found one manufacturer to make a customized, internet-enabled vending machine capable of dispensing the tests. They then found a community-based organization willing to host the machine, but encountered issues with machine security, accessibility and competition. Also, because self-testing instructions that came with the HIV tests were complicated, they created additional instructions with images and contact information for additional help.

Overall, set up of the vending machine was successful. Researchers are now monitoring its use. To read more about set up of the vending machines, click here. And stay tuned for more on results of how the vending machine is utilized.


CBAM is a multidisciplinary center that seeks to advance the prevention and treatment of chronic illnesses, especially in communities with health disparities. As part of the UCLA Department of Family Medicine, CBAM works at the intersection of academia and community with a focus on treating addictions and preventing the spread of HIV.

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