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]