Thursday, June 13, 2024
CommunityHealth & Happiness

Walgreens gets behind epic testing drive for National HIV Testing Day

The pharmacy giant has teamed up with Greater Than AIDS to underscore the need for HIV testing in a Covid world.

Walgreens  and Greater Than AIDS, a public information initiative of KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation), are teaming up with health departments and community organizations in more than 250 cities to host the largest coordinated National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) event in the nation. Click here for a list of participating Walgreens stores and hours to get a free HIV test on Monday, June 27.

In 2019, nearly 1.2 million people had HIV, with 754,700 identifying as gay or bisexual men. Today, the LGBTQ+ community, especially gay and bisexual men, continues to bear a disproportionate burden of HIV, underscoring the need for HIV testing. With HIV testing rates plummeting during the COVID-19 pandemic, National HIV Testing Day is now more important than ever. To underscore this, HIV.gov has proclaimed that the theme of this year’s NHTD is: “HIV Testing is self-care”. We couldn’t agree more.

Nearly 300 local health departments and community organizations 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 to reduce the risk of getting HIV.

“HIV testing is recommended as part of routine health care, yet many Americans are not getting tested as often as advised. As a result, many people living with HIV are unaware of their status,” said Kevin Ban, MD, chief medical officer, Walgreens. “That’s why Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS, together with our community partners, are expanding free and confidential HIV testing—to help people know their HIV status and take control of their health.”

The Greater Than AIDS and Walgreens National HIV Community Partnership is an ongoing commitment to work with local health departments and community organizations to expand HIV testing and information through non-traditional settings. Since 2011, more than 72,000 free HIV tests have been provided as part of the annual event, including over 15,000 self-tests provided during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to be administered at home.

Walgreens has supported people living with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic more than 40 years ago. Walgreens invests in training of its pharmacy team members to address the specific challenges faced by people living with HIV, supports several local and national HIV organizations and continues to participate in ongoing research to help end the HIV epidemic.

Participating Walgreens stores and testing hours for this year’s NHTD activation are available here. Abbott, BioLytical Laboratories, Inc. and OraSure Technologies, Inc. have provided community partners with donated HIV tests in support of the 2022 program.

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