The Index Project
Index Award 2009 Finalists
Project Masiluleke
A HIV Self-Test Kit that combines existing, low-cost diagnostic technologies with mobile support services

“Project Masiluleke which means “lend a helping hand” in Zulu, is using mobile technology to tackle the world’s worst HIV and AIDS epidemic in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, where infection rates are over 40%. This is not the first attempt to address AIDS and HIV in KwaZulu Natal, but after sending a team to South Africa to do extensive research on the ground with local experts, we believe it will be the most effective in bridging the tremendous gap in healthcare resources,” the team behind the project said.

The kit is designed in both English and Zulu, is available for free, and is intended for private use in the home and outside of the traditional healthcare infrastructure. Working with a unique set of partners, including leading, local hip hop artists, the experience is tailored to fit the local cultural environment and eliminate social stigmas associated with current options for HIV testing in South Africa.

The first phase of Project Masiluleke’s was launched on October 1, 2008, with text messages sent to 1 million phones a day – the largest-ever use of mobile messaging to address HIV/AIDS. Using the cell phone as a bridge to treatment, the Project Masiluleke team created a model to deliver low-cost diagnostic saliva and blood tests that are supported by a follow-up mobile service in a region where mobile adoption rates are approaching 90%.

“With Project Masiluleke, we are creating an accessible, sustainable health care solution that provides the privacy and anonymity essential to encouraging participation and reducing stigma. Project Masilulke connects individuals with highly trained HIV+ counselors who are diligent about their treatment regimen and intimately familiar with the weight of an HIV+ diagnosis. This communication makes HIV testing easier to understand through accessible knowledge and resources.”

Designed by
frog design, inc.