New HIV test-kit vending machines could help end transmissions in New Zealand

Getting an HIV test could now be as simple as getting a packet of chips or a soft drink.

It's hoped new test-kit vending machines could help end HIV transmissions in New Zealand.

"It's touchscreen - answer a couple of questions and it spits out a test, it's that easy," says New Zealand AIDS Foundation's Russell Bradshaw, who's been leading a pilot scheme for the HIV test vending machines.

"We've been able to reach quite a number of men who haven't been testing regularly which has been really great to see."

Last year 212 people were diagnosed with HIV in New Zealand. Quarterly testing is recommended for those at risk.

With no need to visit a GP or clinic, the free vending machine is another option for those who may want to be discreet.

"The key is to remove as many of the barriers as possible," says New Zealand AIDS Foundation CEO Jason Myers.

"We're reaching those people that might not have tested frequently or may indeed have never tested."

The pilot study found 28 percent of those who accessed the machine hadn't had an HIV test in at least a year.

Myers says HIV is most dangerous when it's undiagnosed.

"They're not just not getting the care and treatment they need, they could also be passing HIV on inadvertently," he says.

The self-test is free, it comes in a plain box, and can easily be done at home.

"Simply swab the top of your gums, swab the bottom of your gums, place it in the liquid, and 20 minutes later you've got your result," Bradshaw says.

And there's support for anyone who tests positive from the New Zealand AIDS Foundation.

The vending machines will start in Auckland with plans to expand to other parts of the country.