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Self-testing kits and vending machines distributing prescription drugs are two ways that HIV treatment is being automated to reduce stigma in SA, home of the world’s biggest HIV epidemic. With 7.1-million people living with HIV in the country, removing human intervention is helping experts target hard-to-reach groups, such as young men who are often reluctant to queue in public clinics. Students and labourers have flocked to a new HIV self-testing stand outside a supermarket in Hillbrow. The project was started in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe in 2015 and expanded last year to include SA, which has an 18.9% HIV rate among adults. A small team of young and stylishly-dressed "peer educators" convince men aged between 18 and 30 to take the tests, which — in a breakthrough for SA — are self-administered. "It’s targeted at young men and if we have a group of young men around, we pull more people in," said Lynne Wilkinson, from the University of the Witwatersrand’s Reproductive Health and H...

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