There are some pretty weird vending machines nowadays. In some, you can buy cupcakes, electronics, and even makeup. These are all things one would expect America, the land of convenience. What you won’t see in the vending machines here in the good ole U.S. of A. are HIV testing kits. For those, you have to travel to Southwest Petroleum University in Sichuan, China.
Getting tested for HIV has never been more convenient for Chinese university students. Vending machines on campus this year, started selling test kits right next to the instant noodles.
For just 30 yuan ($4.40), you get to pee in a plastic cup, transfer it to a tube, which has a specially marked serial number, and then return it to a designated slot in the vending machine. The samples are collected by student volunteers from the university’s anti-AIDS office twice a day, and then sent to the university hospital. The tubes’ journey doesn’t end there; they still have to make their way to the center of disease control and prevention in Chengdu’s Xindu district. Finally, students get the results to see if they are positive or negative.
The testing kits are part of a pilot project of the China Association of STD/AIDS Prevention and Control. The project goal is to control the rising transmissions of HIV and AIDS among 18- to 25-year-olds.
The testing kit is available in vending machines at Beijing, Heilongjiang, Sichuan and Yunnan universities.
So, next time you’re in China, make sure to take a closer look at the vending machines. Who knows what could be on the other side of the instant ramen…