DEERFIELD, Ill., June 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In support of National HIV Testing Day, June 27, Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (Nasdaq: WAG), the nation's largest drugstore chain, and Greater Than AIDS, a coalition of about 200 public and private sector partners united in response to the domestic AIDS epidemic, are teaming with health departments and local AIDS service organizations across the country to encourage community members to take advantage of free HIV testing.
Free HIV tests will be available June 26-28 at select Walgreens in more than 140 cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Nearly 200 state and local health departments and AIDS service organizations (ASOs) will lead testing events and will provide results on-site within minutes.
Of the more than 1.1 million people living with HIV in the U.S., an estimated one in six do not know that they are infected and only one in four has their virus under control with treatment.  Early diagnosis and treatment saves lives and is known to reduce the spread of HIV. Those with HIV who are on treatment and in care can reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others by as much as 96 percent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages everyone to know their status.
"Since the beginning of the epidemic, Walgreens has served as a trusted resource to help people know their status and manage their condition," said Glen Pietrandoni, senior director, virology, specialty products and services, Walgreens. "We are proud to collaborate with Greater Than AIDS and community partners to increase access to testing and education which we know is critical to being a part of the solution to end AIDS.""Greater Than AIDS is about communities working together to achieve a greater goal. These testing events are powerful examples of what can be achieved when the public and private sector come together in response to HIV/AIDS," said Tina Hoff, Senior Vice President and Director of Health Communication and Media Partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation, a founding partner of Greater Than AIDS. "Not only will thousands have access to free testing in a familiar and trusted location in their neighborhoods, but the very act of offering the tests in Walgreens helps to normalize HIV testing as a part of routine health care." Throughout the year, Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS distribute HIV informational resources through Walgreens 700 HIV-specialized pharmacies. These specialized pharmacies have specially trained community pharmacists offering one-on-one, confidential medication counseling to encourage medication adherence, and can also assist with other care needs such as identifying co-pay assistance options.