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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.

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Gates Foundation

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. ;)

Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


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Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy asked his Senate colleagues the questions millions of Americans have after a mass shooting.

Another school shooting. Another mass murder of innocent children. They were elementary school kids this time. There were 18 children killed—so far—this time.

The fact that I can say "this time" is enraging, but that's the routine nature of mass shootings in the U.S. It happened in Texas this time. At least three adults were killed this time. The shooter was a teenager this time.

The details this time may be different than the last time and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that. But there's one thing all mass shootings have in common. No, it's not mental illness. It's not racism or misogyny or religious extremism. It's not bad parenting or violent video games or lack of religion.

Some of those things have been factors in some shootings, but the single common denominator in every mass shooting is guns. That's not a secret. It's not controversial. It's fact. The only thing all mass shootings have in common is guns.

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Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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