DEERFIELD, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (Nasdaq: WAG) encourages communities to focus on the importance of HIV testing and early treatment, key priorities and services addressed through its more than 700 HIV-specialized pharmacies coast to coast. Walgreens HIV-specialized pharmacies directly support the National HIV/AIDS Strategy by offering a range of personalized services that can improve health outcomes, increase access and help fill gaps in care, particularly in AIDS-endemic communities where stigma and other disparities may hamper diagnosis and complicate treatment.
The HIV-specialized pharmacies are equipped with systems, processes and safety checks that operate “behind the scenes” to provide discreet specialized care in a convenient walk-in setting. Each site is fully stocked with HIV medications and a wide range of related health care essentials. Walgreens HIV-specialized locations are staffed by pharmacists, technicians and other workers who have special HIV training.
With discretion in mind, Walgreens does not use HIV/AIDS-related signs to call out specialized locations. Customers can visit HIV.Walgreens.com to find the nearest HIV-specialized location, as well as to review pharmacists’ HIV credentials and profiles.
“While many HIV patients visit their physicians only once or twice a year, they typically see their pharmacist at least every month,” said Suzanne Hansen, Walgreens group vice president of pharmacy operations. “Our pharmacists are members of the health care community and are well-positioned to support HIV patients in addressing the variety of issues they may face, including help with side effects, emotional support and motivation to take their medications as prescribed. These interventions can positively influence HIV medication adherence, which can be key to improving overall health.”
A Walgreens study of more than 15,000 HIV patients showed that those who received care through an HIV-specialized pharmacy were significantly more adherent to their medication (74 percent) than those receiving care through a traditional, non-specialized pharmacy (69 percent).1
Patients who do not take their medication as prescribed run the risk of treatment failure – meaning the medication no longer works – which can have serious and even fatal health implications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates only 25 percent of Americans with HIV have the virus under control.2
More than 2,000 Walgreens pharmacists across the country have completed special HIV/AIDS-accredited educational programs, including social and cultural training, along with annual continuing education. Thousands more non-pharmacist employees also receive special HIV sensitivity training. Walgreens HIV-specialized pharmacies offer a variety of services and support, including:
- Confidential pharmacist consultations at the pharmacy or by phone
- Pharmacist review of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications to identify possible drug interactions
- Synchronization of refills so patients can get all of their medications at the same time
- Phone call refill reminders
- Nutritional and health support, including reminders to get flu shots and immunizations
- Insurance advocates who help coordinate benefits and can help seek financial support programs to reduce or eliminate copays
- HIV and hepatitis C testing advice and at-home testing kits
- Education for HIV-negative customers regarding the importance of HIV prevention and testing
- Hotline access for answers to HIV-related questions: (800) 573-3602, open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST daily
- Pharmacy staff available 24/7 through Walgreens.com/pharmacy
Walgreens has long supported communities affected by HIV/AIDS. Its HIV-specialized pharmacies continue to coordinate with local health departments or AIDS service organizations to allow them to provide free HIV testing events, participate in community events and work at a grassroots level with local health care providers, government leaders and religious organizations to continually assess and meet the needs of individuals in select communities throughout the U.S.
In recognition of its community support and service, Walgreens was recently awarded:
- AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) Advocacy Organization Corporate Partner of the Year
- Delaware HIV Consortium Red Ribbon Corporate Award
- AID for AIDS International Corporate Honoree
As the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2012 sales of $72 billion, Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) vision is to become America’s first choice for health and daily living. Each day, Walgreens provides more than 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. The company operates 8,030 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.
1. Murphy P, Cocohoba J, Tang M, et al. Impact of HIV-specialized pharmacies on adherence and persistence with antiretroviral therapy. AIDS PatientCare and STDs, Volume 26, Number 9, 2012.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2012). African Americans and younger people least likely to be successfully treated for HIV [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/2012/Continuum-of-Care-PressRelease.html