In collaboration with the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC), Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (Nasdaq: WAG) is furthering its commitment to improve HIV treatment outcomes for African Americans living with HIV by deepening pharmacists’ training and expanding access to the pneumococcal vaccination specifically indicated for persons living with HIV as incidents of flu and pneumonia rise. Pneumococcal disease can spread from a sneeze or cough and can cause significant or life threatening infection for those with chronic illnesses. People living with HIV are at a higher risk of pneumococcal disease – 35 times greater than someone unaffected by HIV at a similar age. 1 African Americans are at an even greater risk as nearly half of all new HIV infections 2 are within the population and African Americans have the lowest seasonal vaccination rate at 40 percent 3. Pneumococcal vaccinations specifically indicated for persons living with HIV are available at all Walgreens HIV-specialized pharmacies to help meet preventive care needs of African Americans living with HIV. Walgreens specially trained pharmacists are working closely with physicians to understand patient needs and deliver individualized, comprehensive care including vaccine administration. “We understand that African Americans are disproportionately affected by HIV and can be heavily impacted during the cold and flu season when pneumonia may be more prevalent,” said Glen Pietrandoni, Walgreens director of specialty products and services, virology. “In addition to stocking our HIV-specialized pharmacies with the CDC-recommended vaccine, we have provided additional pharmacist training so that each of our more than 2,000 HIV-specialized pharmacists is prepared to provide both seasonal and general wellness consultations and administer this vitally important vaccination.” With HIV-specialized pharmacies accessible to nearly 90 percent of the U.S. HIV population, Walgreens is uniquely positioned to help decrease vaccine preventable diseases in HIV-positive populations that were previously difficult-to-reach and often live in medically underserved areas.