HIV self testing vending machine kit for young people in Zambia

We are working with Dr Jaime Vera Rojas at Brighton and Sussex Medical School and a team from the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) to develop a new service that aims to help young people in Zambia access safe HIV self-testing kits through digital vending machines with the aim of reducing the number of youngsters who have HIV without knowing their status.

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What we did

We began by supporting remote co-creation workshops with CIDRZ to understand what mattered to young people when they thought about their health and HIV in particular, and also received feedback on design alternatives to ensure that the language and visual design met their needs.

Discovery workshop

Learnings from the workshops included the desire for clinical, blue themed colours and lightweight style typography; a preference for positive messaging and a neutral design that worked for men and women.

Workshop participant shad strong opinions about the designs we presented in our initial workshop. The name 'SAFE LOVE' was unanimously approved, but the block-style font and warm, African inspired colours and patterns were firmly rejected. Participants also wanted to avoid the 'condom packaging' reference and sperm image we trialled.

“The colour blue is very much required as most adolescent spaces in health facilities have it.”
“The yellow colour is like a warning in football – when given yellow card it is a warning if you do not practice safe sex you may end up dying.”
Workshop participants, Zambia

Vending machine, packs and instructions

The designs include detailed navigation and screen designs for the digital vending machines, together with instructions designed to help young people feel confident about testing their HIV status once they have selected a testing kit.

Two prototype machines were built by retail technology firm, Aeguana. They can be accessed in English and Zambia’s two leading African languages: Bemba and Nyanga.

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PreviousNextThe packs are assembled in Zambia, and made from economically produced recycled, flat-packed cardboard boxes with printed adhesive labels. The instructions include practical tips as well as reassurance and support contact details for potentially vulnerable youths.


The final stage of the project involved local marketing to raise awareness about the project and to encourage young people to use the service, through a trial that would assess benefits and plan for a larger scale roll out.

The marketing phase will begin in early 2021 once the prototype vending machines are delivered.

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