Designing an HIV Self-Test Kit as Easy as a Pregnancy Test
iTeach and frog recognized the need for better HIV testing methods in South Africa and came up with a solution
It began in 2008 as a campaign to increase awareness of the importance of HIV testing in South Africa. Project Masiluleke, as it was called, sent over a billion mobile messages encouraging people to get tested for the virus, and while the project succeeded in raising awareness, it also highlighted the need for better methods of testing. The strategy and design firm frog partnered with the nonprofit iTeach to create an HIV self-test kit as easy and familiar as pregnancy testing.
Rachel Regina, a designer at frog, worked on Project Masiluleke. “It felt like I was missing some key pieces of the puzzle” working remotely, she said. She visited South Africa to see the challenges for herself, and eventually went to work for iTeach in KwaZulu-Natal, the epicenter of the HIV epidemic. South Africa has more HIV-positive citizens than any other nation, but just providing a test kit wasn’t enough. “It wasn’t as simple as just making something that was user friendly,” says Rachel. “When you’re creating a product to deal with malaria or tuberculosis, you don’t run into the same challenges as when you’re dealing with HIV.”