DEERFIELD, Ill. — In support of National HIV Testing Day on June 27, Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS, a coalition of about 200 public and private sector partners united in response to the domestic AIDS epidemic, are teaming with health departments and local AIDS service organizations across the country to encourage community members to take advantage of free HIV testing.
Free HIV tests will be available June 26 to 28 at select Walgreens in more than 140 cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Nearly 200 state and local health departments, along with AIDS service organizations, will lead testing events and provide results on-site within minutes.
Of the more than 1.1 million people living with HIV in the United States, an estimated 1-in-6 do not know that they are infected and only 1-in-4 has their virus under control with treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment saves lives and is known to reduce the spread of HIV. Those with HIV who are on treatment and in care can reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others by as much as 96%.
“Since the beginning of the epidemic, Walgreens has served as a trusted resource to help people know their status and manage their condition,” said Glen Pietrandoni, senior director of virology, specialty products and services at Walgreens. “We are proud to collaborate with Greater Than AIDS and community partners to increase access to testing and education, which we know is critical to being a part of the solution to end AIDS.”
“Greater Than AIDS is about communities working together to achieve a greater goal. These testing events are powerful examples of what can be achieved when the public and private sector come together in response to HIV/AIDS,” said Tina Hoff, SVP and director of health communication and media partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation, a founding partner of Greater Than AIDS. “Not only will thousands have access to free testing in a familiar and trusted location in their neighborhoods, but the very act of offering the tests in Walgreens helps to normalize HIV testing as a part of routine health care.”
Throughout the year, Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS distribute HIV informational resources through Walgreens 700 HIV-specialized pharmacies. These specialized pharmacies have specially trained community pharmacists offering one-on-one, confidential medication counseling to encourage medication adherence, and also can assist with other care needs such as identifying co-pay assistance options.
BioLytical Laboratories donated 10,000 INSTI HIV one-minute, finger-prick test kits to support the effort at select testing sites. Other locations will offer rapid results using available oral fluid or blood-based HIV testing technologies. National organizations like the Black AIDS Institute's Black Treatment Advocacy Networks and AIDS United are mobilizing community networks to recruit individuals in most affected communities to take advantage of the opportunity to learn their HIV status.