Digital Vending Machines

Actively promoting and normalising HIV testing in any venue


*2018 British Medical Journal (BMJ) Innovations Award 




The digital vending machines (DVM) were developed by the charity in 2016/17 and funded by Public Health England (PHE) as part of the 2016 HIV Prevention Innovation Fund. They have been instrumental in enabling us to expand access to HIV testing and support individuals to take control of their sexual health. For those reluctant to access traditional healthcare settings, placing them in the community venues has reduced stigma and barriers to HIV testing, whilst facilitating confidentiality, privacy and convenience. 

The world-first touch-screen machine started distributing free HIV self-tests at the Brighton Sauna in 2017. The machines are unique in that during the interaction, anonymous user information is also collected which can inform Sexual Health & HIV services in the future. During the COVID-19 pandemic and while venues were closed we upgraded the DVMs into full Sexual Health Machines dispensing both STI kits and HIV tests. This was in direct response to feedback we’d had from the Sauna and other sites that STI testing kits would be useful in addition to HIV self-tests.  


Vending machines are now available at 8 convenient locations across Brighton & Hove. When you use the machine, we will ask you a few simple questions such as your age, when you last tested and your mobile number. We’ll help you choose the right test kit for you. The machine will then dispense it instantly. The test kits contain all the information that you need to complete the tests. 

Martin Fisher Foundation Vending machine3

Martin Fisher Foundation Vending machine2










The Sexual Health kits contain swabs and blood sampling equipment which will be tested for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and HIV when returned through the post to the Sexual Health Clinic. The HIV self-tests are extremely accurate and by using oral fluid, give a result in just 15 minutes. If you’ve done your HIV test, you can find more information on what a ‘reactive’ or ‘negative’ test result means here. 

These kits are for people WITHOUT SYMPTOMS who want to check their sexual health or HIV status. If you have symptoms or are worried about established HIV please get in touch with Brighton & Hove Sexual Health & Contraception clinic 

Brighton & Hove is a HIV Fast Track City which means we’re working together to STOP all new cases of HIV by 2030. For this to happen everyone at risk of HIV needs to take an HIV test and be aware of their HIV status. Having free testing kits more readily available will help us achieve this goal. 

The vending machine dimensions are 1000 (height) x 445 (width) x 280mm (depth); we are reliant upon donations and fundraising for additional machines. Please contact us if you are interested in purchasing one of our machines. 

Other news: our machines are travelling in the UK and abroad! Bristol, Gloucester and Somerset have four machines. The first international one was in New Zealand, followed by Japan, Zambia, Jamaica, Kenya and Australia. We have published peer reviewed papers on the use of vending machines: see links below 


Acceptability and feasibility of using digital vending machines to deliver HIV self-tests to men who have sex with men 

Surveying testing preferences in Black, Latin American, and other minorities for the co-design of digital vending machines for HIV self-testing 

HIV self-tests for men who have sex with men, accessed via a digital vending machine: a qualitative study of acceptability 

Acceptability of digital vending machines to access STI and HIV tests in two UK cities 



The use of our vending machines was published in the recent WHO Compendium of good practices in the health sector response to HIV in the WHO European Region – page 127-130