AN INNOVATIVE vending machine which dispenses HIV self-testing kits has won an award.

The team behind the world-first touch-screen digital machine at Brighton Sauna has received a national award for designers and health experts.

The team is made up of staff from the University of Brighton, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, the design consultancy Díptico and the Martin Fisher Foundation, a charity working towards zero new HIV infections and zero HIV stigma.

The team won the highly prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ) 2018 Innovation Award which attracted 3,500 applicants in 15 categories, each category having six finalists.

The BMJ Awards, now in their 10th year, are the UK’s premier medical awards programme, recognising and celebrating the inspirational work done by doctors and their teams.

The Martin Fisher Foundation received funding from Public Health England as part of the 2016 HIV Prevention Innovation Fund for the vending machine pilot which started in June 2017.

It has since distributed over 300 tests and the project has been evaluated with 95 per cent of recipients saying they would recommend this type of testing to others.

Its success has been credited to collaboration between HIV clinicians Dr Jaime Vera, Dr Gillian Dean, and Dr Suneeta Soni, designers/researchers Dr Carlos Peralta and Dr Liliana Rodriguez, and researchers Dr Carrie Llewellyn and Alex Pollard, and sauna staff.

Dr Peralta, Senior Lecturer in Design in the University of Brighton’s School of Architecture and Design, said: “This award demonstrates how positive interdisciplinary collaboration between designers and health experts can be, and how design can be employed in projects geared toward social benefit.”