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. ;)

More
True
Gates Foundation

The great thing about American democracy is the separation of powers. The federal government has rights, states have rights, counties have rights, cities have rights, and we, as people, have rights, too.

Heck, even animals have some rights in the good ol' U S of A.

The president of the United States is not a king or a dictator so a team of U.S. mayors, led by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, are asking to go over his head to negotiate directly at next month's UN climate change conference in Santiago, Chile.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Facebook / Amanda Williams

It can take time to feel comfortable in a new home, especially if you think there are scary monsters lurking about, which is why six-year-old Hayden Williams had trouble sleeping in his new room.

Hayden used to share a room with his 15-year-old sister, but when the Eldridge, Iowa family moved, each kid got their very own. While his sister was excited for the change, Hayden was having a hard time adjusting to the new arrangement.

"My little man has been having severe anxiety since we moved into the new house…I've tried everything under the sun to get him to sleep in his own room. Nothing is helping," his mom, Amanda Williams, wrote on Facebook.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Courtesy of Capital One

It was around Christmas 2018 and Jean Simpkins, 79, was looking out the window of her new three-bedroom apartment. Eleven floors above Washington, D.C., the grandmother of two gazed out at the lights of the city and became overwhelmed with gratitude. "The only thing I could say," Simpkins remembers, "was 'Thank you, Father.'"

Almost a year later, Simpkins still can't help but look at the apartment as a miracle — one she desperately needed. Fifteen years ago, when her grandson was born, she became his primary caregiver. Six years later, when her granddaughter was four, Simpkins was awarded full custody of her, too. She's spent the time since trying to give her grandchildren the life she knows they deserve, which has been difficult on a fixed income. On top of that, Simpkins worried that the neighborhood the family resided in wasn't the best influence on her kids. Something had to change.

Then she learned about Plaza West, a new development created by Mission First housing that would reserve 50 of its apartments specifically for families in which a grandparent or other older adult was raising children who were related to them. The waiting list, Simpkins says, was daunting. There are a great deal of grandfamilies in the D.C. area and she was sure it might be years before she got the call. But soon after applying, she was offered a choice between a two-bedroom and a three-bedroom apartment. She accepted the latter, sight unseen. She knew that each of her grandchildren needed space of their own.

Keep Reading Show less
Future Edge
True
Capital One
via Pixabay

Ninjas are black-clad assassins that date back to the days of feudal Japan. They are skillful, secretive fighters who have mastered the element of surprise, espionage, and clandestine tactics.

Ninjas weren't held to the Bushido code like the samurai, so they could be mercenaries who did the lord's dirty deeds without worrying about their honor. A ninja's most important power is the ability to be stealth and sneak into castles or homes to take their targets by surprise.

Keep Reading Show less
popular