DEERFIELD, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In the lead up to National HIV Testing Day on June 27, Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS, a leading national public information response to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic, are teaming with health departments and local AIDS service organizations (ASOs) to offer free HIV testing and counseling about new prevention strategies, including Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).
Testing will take place at select Walgreens stores in 150 participating cities, June 23-25:
- Thursday, June 23 from 3 p.m. - 7 p.m.
- Friday, June 24 from 3 p.m. - 7 p.m.
- Saturday, June 25 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Results are provided on site by trained counselors. Alere North America, bioLytical Laboratories and OraSure have donated test kits for the activation.
For a complete list of participating Walgreens locations and supporting partners, as well as more information about HIV testing, including year-round testing sites, visit www.greaterthan.org/walgreens.
Why get tested? While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that all Americans be screened for HIV as a part of routine health care1, many Americans have never been tested or are not being tested as often as recommended. According to national surveys by the Kaiser Family Foundation 43 percent of Americans report never having been tested, and another 37 percent say they have not been tested in a year or longer. With early diagnosis and treatment, someone with HIV can live a healthy normal lifespan.
“This month marks 35 years since the first case of HIV. We’ve come a long way, but getting tested is a critical first step in staying healthy regardless of status,” said Tina Hoff, senior vice president and director of health communication and media partnerships at the Kaiser Family Foundation, which leads Greater Than AIDS.
Richard Ashworth, president of pharmacy and retail operations for Walgreens, said, “We are fortunate to have a strong presence in -- and close relationship with -- communities across America, making us uniquely suited to serve those living with HIV or at risk of being exposed to HIV. It’s one of the best ways I know to champion everyone’s right to be happy and healthy.”
“HIV is still a real and serious disease. But with the right treatment and care, people living with HIV can expect to live as long as the average person,” said Glen Pietrandoni, pharmacist and senior director of virology, specialty products and services at Walgreens. “So it’s important to take control of your health by getting a test and learning your status. If negative, there are now prevention options like PrEP, which can help prevent you from getting HIV if you are exposed to the virus. If positive, getting into care early makes a big difference in the long run.”
I Got Tested: What’s Next?, an informational guide available in both English and Spanish from Greater Than AIDS and Walgreens, will be distributed at hundreds of HIV-specialized pharmacies and through local partners in June. The guide includes information about the benefits of early treatment and PrEP.
PrEP is available by prescription to help people who are HIV negative stay negative. When taken as prescribed, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection by more than 90 percent. Condoms should be used for added protection and to protect against other sexually transmitted diseases. More information about PrEP is available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/prep.html.
Walgreens (www.walgreens.com), one of the nation's largest drugstore chains, is included in the Retail Pharmacy USA Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. More than 8 million customers interact with Walgreens each day in communities across America, using the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice. Walgreens operates 8,173 drugstores with a presence in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Walgreens digital business includes Walgreens.com, drugstore.com, Beauty.com and VisionDirect.com. More than 400 Walgreens stores offer Healthcare Clinic or other provider retail clinic services.
About Greater Than AIDS
Greater Than AIDS is a leading national public information response focused on the U.S. domestic epidemic. Launched in 2009 by the Kaiser Family Foundation together with the Black AIDS Institute, it is supported today by a broad coalition of public and private sector partners, including: major media and other business leaders; Federal, state and local health agencies and departments; national leadership groups; AIDS service and other community organizations; and foundations, among others. Through targeted media messages and community outreach, Greater Than AIDS works to increase knowledge, reduce stigma and promote actions to stem the spread of the disease. While national in scope, Greater Than AIDS focuses on communities most affected.
About Kaiser Family Foundation
The Kaiser Family Foundation, a leader in health policy analysis, health journalism and communication, is dedicated to filling the need for trusted, independent information on the major health issues facing our nation and its people. The Foundation is a non-profit private operating foundation based in Menlo Park, California.
1 Branson BM, Handsfield HH, Lampe MA, et al. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Revised recommendations for HIV testing of adults, adolescents, and pregnant women in health-care settings. MMWR. 2006;55(RR14):1-17.