Walgreens Will Begin Offering Free HIV Testing In Select Locations

Walgreens is launching a new initiative offering free, private HIV testing at a few locations, the company announced today. It’s part of a program the company is working on with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to try and connect more people with HIV with care and resources.

The pilot progam will be rolled out at select stores in Chicago, Washington D.C. and Lithonia, Ga., reports the Chicago Tribune.

“Walgreens is uniquely positioned to advance the role of community pharmacy to become a community health care provider, and this public-private initiative underscores the value of collaboration in helping to raise awareness about HIV testing, prevention and treatment,” said Mike Ellis, Walgreens corporate vice president, specialty and infusion.

The pharmacies participating in the program will have specially trained pharmacists and nurse practitioners on hand to counsel  those patrons who test positive, and then help them to figure out the next step so far as health care and social services providers.

With an estimated 1.1. million people in America living with HIV,  almost one in five of  those is unaware of the condition, says the CDC.

“Ensuring that all Americans know their HIV status is critical to reducing new infections,” added Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention. “Collaborating with pharmacists and retail clinic staff to expand HIV testing into community pharmacies allows us to reach more Americans who are unaware of their infection and can ultimately reduce the toll of HIV on the nation.”

Walgreens to offer HIV testing in some stores [Chicago Tribune]

 

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  1. eldergias says:

    Oh no, we can’t have that. If we do, then people who are tested positive for HIV may refrain from having sex, and that would be a form of contraception, and we know how evil that is.

    /s

    Trying to come up with some sort of criticism that crazy people could throw at this idea, and this is the best I’ve got.

    • eldergias says:

      In all seriousness, kudos to Walgreens. This makes me respect them more.

    • Pre-Existing Condition says:

      In the past, the argument was that follow up counseling was less likely to happen when done OTC.

      • eldergias says:

        Interesting, never though of that. But that begs the question: is lack of followup counseling of X% of people who find they are HIV positive a worse outcome than Y% of people who have HIV not finding out that they have it. I don’t know what those values are, but I would think that it would be better for people to know they have an illness than to not know.

  2. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    I would be apprehensive about the security of this kind of sensitive information in Walgreen’s hands.

  3. Coffee says:

    This is really nice to hear, and I’m glad that the program is launching in Chicago and Washington D.C…in 2009, about half of new HIV diagnosees were African American, so it’s nice to know that Walgreens appears to be targeting at-risk demographic groups, or at least that – coincidental or not – they’re setting up shop where those groups have a higher population density.

  4. SkokieGuy says:

    This is wonderful, but why did it take so long?

    Also, did you know that the 20 minute rapid result test cannot be sold to the public? You can purchase the home test kit where you mail in a blood sample, but not something that gives a rapid result.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      That seems ridiculous – what’s the reasoning behind that? I’d think that’s SLIGHTLY more important than discovering if you’re pregnant or not and yet we have those.

      • SkokieGuy says:

        With the current home testing kits, you have to contact the company to obtain results. They have a very basic phone screening to make sure you can “handle” the results. They also maintain counselors to speak with those who are positive (or negative and have concerns).

        With a 100% at home kit, no outside intervention would be required, so there could be a greater risk of suicide, depression, or simply not getting accurate information about how to deal with the positive result.

  5. Bladerunner says:

    This is pretty cool; I hope they roll it out to everywhere.

  6. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Chicago, Washington D.C. and Lithonia, Ga. (???)

    Why Lithonia GA? I never heard of it. Is it somewhere that has a high rate of HIV infection? Or are they testing it just randomly to see if people will use the service?

  7. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    There was a report on the news last night about a man who was convicted of PURPOSEFULLY having sex with people to attempt to spread HIV as far and wide as he could.

    WHAT

    THE

    CRAP.

    That dude’s humanity card needs to be revoked.

    • RedOryx says:

      Yup, many states have it as a felony.

      When I worked in the prison system our investigator told us about two (male) inmates who met at the prison and had a relationship. Inmate A was HIV+ but didn’t tell Inmate B, who was in love with him. Inmate A was released and suddenly all communication stopped and Inmate B was devestated, but stuck behind bars and couldn’t do anything. He also soon after tested positive for HIV and while the investigator told him he could press criminal charges, he refused because he loved the guy. True story.

    • George4478 says:

      I vaguely remember a 60 Minutes episode 20-ish years ago about a flight attendant who continued to have promiscuous, unprotected sex for years after he had been diagnosed. IIRC, because of his job, he was able to purposefully spread the disease over a huge area.