There’s good news for those in isolated areas of the world – HIV testing has just become portable. A new device that can take a simple pinprick from a finger, and provide accurate blood test results, is a big advancement for those who have never had access to a lab facility for testing.

HIV afflicts many of the poorest nations in the world, with over two thirds of the more than 34 million infected living in Africa. Many of these individuals cannot get tested or treated because they cannot get to a facility to do so. These nations are already poor enough without the economic burden caused by unknown and untreated cases of HIV – over 16 million children in Africa have been orphaned by this disease.

The mobile device was developed at a low cost, and can be used even in remote areas – making it perfect for use in the sorts of areas hit hardest by the disease. Test results are ready in just 15 minutes, and it only requires one drop of blood from the finger tip. It performs all the same functions as the expensive, immobile equipment used in labs.

The device can even detect patients who are borderline positive and might otherwise go undiagnosed. Topping off these advantages is the ability to update patient records remotely – again, this is perfect for out of the way areas where Internet access may be limited, but satellite or cell service is still available.

Another advantage is that this can be used to track trends in the spread of the disease, helping medical facilities and organizations to better know where to send medical supplies and help treat the disease. Remote areas that have never had treatment available, because no one knew for sure whether or not HIV was common in those areas, may now receive the help that they need.