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Walgreens to provide HIV testing in more than 180 cities for National HIV Testing Day

BY Antoinette Alexander

Walgreens has announced that it is working with Greater Than AIDS, a national public information response to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic, and 220 health departments, AIDS service organizations, and other community organizations to help provide free HIV testing and information at participating Walgreens stores in more than 180 cities on National HIV Testing Day on June 27.

Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS are helping the participating testing partners to expand the free HIV testing to even more locations this year with a focus on heavily affected communities. Since 2011, more than 40,000 HIV tests have been conducted as part of the activation. BioLytical Laboratories and OraSure Technologies, Inc. are donating test kits and Abbott Rapid Diagnostics is providing support for outreach.

Local agencies will be at participating Walgreens stores to provide free, confidential, and fast test results on site, without the need to schedule an appointment. Counselors will be on hand to answer questions about HIV prevention and treatment options, including PrEP, a medication that offers another effective means of protection for those testing negative for HIV.

“Walgreens has supported people living with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic more than 30 years ago,” said Glen Pietrandoni, senior director, patient care and advocacy, at Walgreens. “Early testing can mean access to effective treatment and the opportunity to go on to live a healthy normal lifespan. In addition, with proper adherence to medication, successfully treated patients cannot easily transmit the virus to others. As we continue to work towards an end to HIV/AIDS, it is crucial that testing and trusted resources on treatment are made more widely available within communities.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends HIV testing as part of routine health care. An estimated 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV and approximately 1-in-7 are unaware of their status.

“There are more options than ever to prevent and treat HIV,” said Tina Hoff, senior vice president and director, health communications and media partnerships at the Kaiser Family Foundation, which leads Greater Than AIDS. “The first step is knowing your status. This collaboration normalizes HIV testing as part of everyday life, while helping to educate about these advances.”

The community partnership is part of an ongoing commitment by Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS to broaden the reach of HIV testing and information in non-traditional settings and to support the outreach of local organizations. Year round, HIV-trained pharmacy staff are available at more than 1,000 Walgreens locations nationwide, including communities with high HIV prevalence, offering one-on-one, confidential medication counseling to support treatment adherence, and assisting with other care needs, such as identifying financial assistance options.

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Amazon, Whole Foods add markets to grocery delivery

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon and Whole Foods Market are adding four more markets to their two-hour grocery delivery program.

On June 12, the online giant launched free two-hour delivery of products from Whole Foods through Prime Now in Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and Richmond. The service first launched in February, and was available in seven cities by April.

With the additional markets, the service is now available in 14 cities. Amazon plans to continue expanding the service across the United States throughout the rest of the year, the company said.

The service extension comes on the heels of another program expansion across the Whole Foods Market chain. Starting this week, Amazon will introduce its Prime discounts program to Whole Foods stores across 10 additional states, a move that gives members an extra 10% off sale items.

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Walgreens marks availability of 1,000 medication disposal kiosks

BY Antoinette Alexander

Walgreens celebrated a milestone on Monday as it reached 1,000 safe medication disposal kiosk installations at its stores nationwide.

Joining company officials to mark the milestone at one of its Las Vegas stores was Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada, where Walgreens has expanded its safe medication disposal kiosks this year to 12 locations throughout Nevada.

“I was pleased to join Walgreens today as they installed their 1,000th safe medicine disposal kiosk,” Sandoval said. “Kiosks like these are yet another tool in the fight against opioids and I congratulate Walgreens for its commitment to this fight.”

The first of its kind program to allow for safe medication disposal in a drug store setting allows individuals to safely and conveniently dispose of their unwanted, unused or expired prescription and OTC medications year-round at no cost. It makes the disposal of medications — including opioids and other controlled substances — easier and more convenient while helping to reduce the misuse of medications and the rise in overdose deaths. The kiosks are available during regular pharmacy hours.

Walgreens safe medication disposal program has collected and safely disposed of more than 270 tons of medications — or the equivalent of about 150 cars — since the launch of the program in 2016.

“As we mark the installation of 1,000 safe medication disposal kiosks in our drug stores, we are truly inspired by the response to the program from communities around the country,” said Richard Ashworth, Walgreens president of operations. “We are proud to provide a solution to get unwanted medications out of home medicine cabinets and avoid landfills while we continue to expand the program to address a real health crisis facing the country.”

Last fall, the company announced its partnership with health care organizations AmerisourceBergen, Pfizer and Prime Therapeutics to expand the availability of safe medication disposal kiosks to approximately 1,500 Walgreens stores nationwide.

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