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Walgreens stores to host free HIV tests
June 13th, 2013
MENLO PARK, Calif. – Walgreen Co. and the organization Greater Than AIDS have teamed up with health departments and local AIDS groups nationwide to provide free HIV testing in support of National HIV Testing Day on June 27.
Greater Than AIDS said Thursday that the testing sites include about 175 Walgreens drug stores in 54 cities across 22 states. Hundreds more Walgreens stores in the participating communities are slated to help publicize the free tests via in-store marketing and other programs.
On June 27, Walgreens will also help promote National HIV Testing Day with special messages on the huge digital billboard of its store in Manhattan's Times Square.
More than 130 state and local health departments and AIDS service organizations are coordinating the testing and providing results on-site at the participating Walgreens stores, as well as supporting outreach. The free HIV tests will be available June 27 to 29 at select Walgreens stores in major metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
It's the third straight year that Walgreens has partnered with Greater Than AIDS and local organizations to provide free HIV testing to communities. This year, more than three times the number of stores and testing partners are participating compared with 2012.
"Access to testing, education and care are critical when it comes to the treatment and prevention of this complex condition," Glen Pietrandoni, senior manager of virology at Walgreens, said in a statement. "We have supported people living with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic more than 30 years ago and will continue to be a trusted resource. Through this significant collaboration, we can help even more people get, stay and live well."
Throughout the year, Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS distribute HIV informational resources at 700 Walgreens stores in heavily affected communities. Designated by Walgreens as "Centers of Excellence," these stores have pharmacists on hand to offer one-on-one medication counseling and other support services for customers with HIV/AIDS and their families.
"Frequent testing is the first step towards early treatment and preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS," stated Tina Hoff, senior vice president and director of health communication and media partnerships at the Kaiser Family Foundation, and a founding partner of Greater Than AIDS, a public/private coalition. "Greater than AIDS is pleased to once again mark National HIV Testing Day by collaborating with Walgreens and local and state governments to broaden access to HIV tests for people in many of the nation's hardest-hit communities."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the more than 1.1 million people living with HIV in the United States, an estimated one in five, or nearly 250,000 people, are unaware of their condition, Greater than AIDS reported. A third of those who are positive are diagnosed so late in the course of their infection they develop AIDS within one year. Early diagnosis and treatment saves lives and is known to reduce the spread of HIV, according to the CDC.