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!

More
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular