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Safe Sex Startup Offers HIV Tests In Disguise

Oct 23, 2017

Sexual health tests in Nigeria can be a harrowing ordeal.

In addition to the anxiety of discovering their results, visitors to public clinics must face the stigma around sexual activity that remains prevalent in Nigerian society."People stare a lot when you go for testing, especially if you are unmarried," says Vivian*, a cosmetics store manager from Abuja."They look at you like you are wayward or naughty."

Many Nigerians escape social judgment by avoiding tests, with deadly consequences. In a country with one the world's highest rates of HIV infectionjust 10% of the population has been tested for the disease, according to government statistics.Prevalence of Hepatitis B, another sexually transmitted killer, is even higher.But Vivian is one of the first customers of a service that allows Nigerians to avoid choosing between their safety and their reputation.

The Lagos-based startup is distributing self-testing kits for HIV, Hepatitis B and Syphilis on a strictly anonymous basis, as well as contraceptives for men and women.Users can order the packages through the company website for between 2,000 to 7,500 Naira ($5-20), and then perform simple blood tests in their home, receiving the results in 15 minutes.SlideSafe provides a step-by-guide to the process, as well as counseling before and after the test for users who are often nervous.