June 21, 2011
Free HIV Testing, Targeted HIV/AIDS Resources at Walgreens Stores in Heavily Affected Areas
Walgreens is teaming up with Greater Than AIDS, a national campaign in response to HIV/AIDS in the United States, to distribute informational resources and specialized HIV-related services at more than 300 Walgreens pharmacies in heavily affected communities. At these specialized pharmacy locations, Walgreens has pharmacists on hand to offer one-on-one medication counseling and other support services that provide customers living with HIV/AIDS — and their families — with compassionate, confidential care. Free rapid oral HIV testing will also be available at select Walgreens locations from June 22 to 24, 2011, with technical support and guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and test kits from OraSure Technologies. State and local health departments and community-based organizations in the local markets are conducting the tests and providing pre- and post-test counseling.
According to the CDC, more than one million Americans are living with HIV today, yet 1 in 5 of those infected doesn’t know their status. And, one-third are diagnosed so late in the course of their infection that they develop AIDS within one year. The CDC encourages all Americans to get tested.
“Despite overwhelming evidence that early diagnosis and treatment play an important role both in the health of those who are positive and in reducing the spread of HIV, many Americans at highest risk for infection still have not been tested,” said Tina Hoff, Senior Vice President and Director of Health Communication and Media Partnerships at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a co-founding partner of Greater Than AIDS. “The commitment by Walgreens to bring HIV information and testing into the pharmacy setting helps to reduce the stigma associated with HIV and make testing more accessible for those who may not have access to traditional healthcare settings.”
“Access to testing, education and care are critical when it comes to the treatment and prevention of this complex condition,” said Walgreens manager of specialized disease state programs Glen Pietrandoni. “This month marks 30 years since the first case of AIDS and ever since, Walgreens has been a trusted resource. As a pharmacy focused on meeting our customers’ health and daily living needs, Walgreens is committed to providing services and support in communities highly impacted by HIV.”
Additionally, EBONY, a publication of Johnson Publishing Company, Inc., has partnered with Greater Than AIDS and Walgreens to produce a special Be Greater Than AIDS informational guide to be distributed in 1.6 million copies of the July issue of the magazine, reaching an estimated 11 million readers. One million additional copies of the guide, which includes information about HIV testing and tips for talking with partners and health care providers, will be distributed free in select Walgreens stores and by AIDS service organizations and other community groups. EBONY also supports Greater Than AIDS with ongoing PSA placements and special editorial content on HIV/AIDS.
“We are determined to increase awareness and reduce the spread of HIV in the black community,” said Amy DuBois Barnett, Editor-in-Chief, EBONY magazine. “As the magazine with the furthest reach in black America, we at EBONY believe it is our responsibility to address the fact that more than half of the approximately 1.1 million people living with HIV in the United States today are black Americans by empowering our community with the information and tools necessary to protect their health. We hope the ‘Being Greater than AIDS’ guide will help to achieve that goal.”
“We have the tools to end the AIDS epidemic as we know it. We know how to diagnose those who are infected, identify the communities most heavily affected, prevent transmission, and prevent acquisition of the virus. Dramatically expanding HIV testing and linkages to care is a critical step toward that end,” said Phill Wilson, President and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute, a co-founding partner of Greater Than AIDS. “The Black AIDS Institute is proud to partner with Walgreens, Johnson Publishing Company, and the Kaiser Family Foundation to raise awareness and expand access to HIV testing in our communities.”
A new national survey released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation indicates Americans, and especially black Americans who are among those at highest risk for HIV, want to know more about HIV testing, including who should get tested (42% overall, 63% black Americans) and where to go to get tested (38% overall, 58% black Americans).
The Walgreens/Greater Than AIDS partnership includes:
About Greater Than AIDS
Greater Than AIDS is a collaboration among a broad coalition of public and private sector partners united in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the United States, in particular among Black Americans and other disproportionately affected groups. Through a national media campaign and targeted community outreach, Greater Than AIDS aims to increase knowledge and understanding about HIV/AIDS and confront the stigma surrounding the disease. www.greaterthan.org
The Kaiser Family Foundation — a non-profit private operating foundation dedicated to producing and communicating the best possible information, research and analysis on health issues — provides strategic direction and day-to-day management, as well as oversees the production of the media campaign. The Black AIDS Institute — a think tank exclusively focused on AIDS in Black America — provides leadership and expert guidance and directs community engagement. Greater Than AIDS is developed in support of Act Against AIDS, an effort by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to refocus attention on the domestic epidemic. Additional, financial and substantive support is provided by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Ford Foundation and MAC AIDS Fund, among others.
Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) is the nation’s largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2010 sales of $67 billion. The company operates 7,714 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each day, Walgreens provides nearly 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. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.