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Testing for HIV is now as easy as seeing if you're pregnant.

One prick and 15 minutes can make all the difference, thanks to a new HIV self-testing kit.

There are a record-breaking 35 million people in the world today living with HIV.

Despite what the movies might have you believe, HIV/AIDS didn't go the way of Hammer pants and suddenly disappear in the early '90s (can you imagine if they had swapped places though?). In fact, the virus now affects more people than ever.

In the United States alone, there are 1.2 million people living with HIV — and 10% to 20% of them don't even know it.


Because we're talking AIDS here, and we need to keep things somber. Photo by UNAIDS.

HIV itself is not a death sentence (but you should still practice safe sex).

It took a while for the public at large to become aware of HIV and AIDS. And even then, many people are still under the impression that HIV means you are steps away from death.

But thanks to new medical advancements, that's not really true. People with HIV can live happy, healthy lives for 50 years or more with the proper treatment and care.

That said, you should still do what you can to stop the virus before it gets into your system (if possible). Which means wrap it before you tap it, or whatever your sex-respective version of that phrase might be.

It also means you should get tested. But here's some good news: HIV testing just got a whole lot easier.

Now STOP SAYING YOU'RE "TOO BIG" FOR THEM, OK? Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba/Getty Images.

Many people are too embarrassed or afraid to get tested for STIs, including HIV.

A show of hands: How many of you have been tested for STIs and/or HIV? It's hard for me to count since I'm communicating with you via words on a screen.

But I bet that less than half of you put your hands up — despite the fact that half of you have or will have contracted an STI at some point in your life.

So why didn't you raise your hand? It turns out, most people don't get tested simply because they're too embarrassed, or because a trip to the doctor is just plain inconvenient.

See? Just a little prick! Ba-dum-tsh! Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Fortunately, a company in the U.K. just created a new HIV test that allows you to test yourself at home.

BioSure's new HIV self-testing kit is shipped directly to your home in a discreet white box and delivers results in just 15 minutes with a 99.7% accuracy rate.

It's the first of its kind to comply with E.U. safety, health, and environmental requirements, and it costs only £29.99, or about $46 (keep in mind that they also regulate haggis over there). Here's how it works:

The test functions much like a pregnancy test: identifying antibodies produced by the virus, rather than looking for the virus itself.

Instead of looking for that sneaky human immunodeficiency virus directly, the kit scans your blood sample for the antibodies produced as a result of the virus' presence.

Prior to this, it was possible to get your hands on a self-sampling kit, but you had to send it to a lab so they could process the results, and the test required you to draw a blood sample that was about 160 times larger than the BioSure (ow).

This looks a lot like the upholstery cleaning kit for my couch. I hope I didn't confuse the two? Image from BioSure.

But remember: You do have to wait three months after possibly contracting the virus for the test to work.

If you use the HIV self-testing kit before three months have passed since (potentially) contracting the virus, your body will not have had the time to produce enough antibodies to yield a positive result.

(If you're concerned about your health and the health of those to whom you could potentially pass the virus, you should probably seek out a medical professional.)

Why is this so awesome? Because an increase in early diagnoses could help prevent the spread of the virus.

The math is simple: When more people know they have a virus, they can all take preventive measures to stop spreading it.

Because it shouldn't be strange to see a happy person here. Photo by Emmanuel Dunand/Getty Images.

That means fewer people will contract HIV. Everybody wins!

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


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Making a priceless memory

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