A 15-year-old girl might have made HIV tests as easy as pregnancy tests.

Nicole Ticea's HIV test invention is a long way from widespread use, but it's a start. I love it when stories like this from the Tumblr YearofWomen pop into my Internet world.

While you were probably wondering if you'd pass the driver's test at 15 years old, Nicole Ticea was working to revolutionize HIV testing.

How? By trying to make HIV tests as easy as pregnancy tests.

Consider her brilliant work a celebration of a young scientist taking one small step for humans, and one potentially giant step (after more stringent peer review!) for humankind.


Here's the background: HIV testing is necessary, but it can be embarrassing, it's hard, and it takes a while for results ... and in some places, it's expensive. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of all Americans age 13 and older who are living with HIV (1,201,100), an estimated 160,300, or 13%, don't even know they have HIV.

And over 50% of young people with HIV don't know they have it. So in some ways, HIV is a youth issue.


Tim Gunn cannot compute. GIF via Bravo TV.

Also from the CDC, youth (ages 13-24) accounted for an estimated 26% of all new HIV infections in the United States in 2010.

That statistic stinks. But here's what doesn't: a teen with a solution. Turns out the kinda best person to attack these horrid youth stats is ... a YOUTH PERSON!


That's where 15-year-old Nicole Ticea and that kind-of-like-a-pregnancy-test come in. Her idea could make it a whole heck of a lot easier simply to get tested and diagnosed.

Image via Hochgeladen von Sven Manguard (altered).

See, HIV testing usually requires expensive lab equipment and time to process the test. But Nicole used a new method called isothermal nucleic acid amplification, which means that tests can be done anywhere — potentially, even in remote locations around the world — and quickly. Then she found a way to test for the HIV virus itself rather than for humans' reaction to it, which means the virus can be detected much sooner — as early as one week after infection.

Bam! Faster testing. Take the test and you could have results in under an hour.

Oh and did I mention you wouldn't even need electricity? The device would be disposable, and it should cost less than $5 to produce. Double bam!

This is a new technology that hasn't been peer reviewed yet, so these magical HIV-tests-that-are-as-easy-as-pregnancy-tests aren't coming to a store near you right away (Nicole just invented it!). There's a lot more that has to be done before this brilliant idea can become a reality or to know if it really will work exactly like Nicole hopes it will. But this is one HUGE step toward a healthier world.

The earlier you catch HIV infection, the greater your chances of survival are. Plus, the risk of passing on the disease diminishes HUGELY.

Inventing a high-speed HIV diagnosis ... sounds like the work for a teenage girl, right?

It should. Because it is.

Typical teenage girls. Wearing pink and inventing revolutionary HIV tests. GIF from "Grease."

The world is beautiful when we give teens the keys ... TO SCIENCE!

You go, Nicole. It's only been a year since you've come up with it, but I see big things for the future of your invention. We'll be Googling you from here on out to see what's happening with the test's development!

So congrats on studying for that driver's test, all other 15-year-olds, but while you're studying for that, maybe look into that science textbook? I believe in ya. ;)

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"I wrote this album for the light bringers," Grammer shared on Facebook. "The people who choose to see the good even in the overwhelming chaos of the bad. The smilers who fight brick by brick to build an authentic smile everyday, even when it seems like an impossible thing to do. For those who have been marginalized as 'sweet' or 'cute' or 'less powerful' for being overly positive. To me optimism is a war to be fought, possibly the most important one. If I am speaking to you and you are relating to it then know I made this album for you. You are my tribe. I love you and I hope it serves you. Don't let the world turn down your shine, we all so badly need it."

Reading that, it's easy to think maybe he really is naive, but Grammer's positivity isn't due to nothing difficult ever happening in his life. His mom, Kathy, died of breast cancer when Grammer was 25. He and his mother were very close, and her life and death had a huge impact on him.

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Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

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"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

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via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

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The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

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