FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Audrey Ann Ross, AccessMatters
Scott Goldberg, Walgreens
Rakesh Singh, Kaiser Family Foundation
AccessMatters, Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS Team Up in Effort to Heighten HIV Awareness in Philadelphia
Testing at participating Walgreens supports ongoing commitment to community outreach on HIV
[PHILADELPHIA, PA], June 27, 2018 – Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS, a leading national public information response to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic, are working with AccessMatters and 220 health departments, AIDS service organizations, and other community organizations to help provide free HIV testing and information at participating Walgreens stores in more than 180 cities, including Philadelphia, on National HIV Testing Day on Wednesday, June 27, between 10 am – 7 pm EST.
Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS are helping the participating testing partners to expand the free HIV testing to even more locations this year with a focus on heavily affected communities. Since 2011, more than 40,000 HIV tests have been conducted as part of the activation. BioLytical Laboratories and OraSure Technologies, Inc. are donating test kits and Abbott Rapid Diagnostics is providing support for outreach.
Throughout the country, local agencies will be at participating Walgreens stores to provide free, confidential, and fast test results on site, without the need to schedule an appointment. Counselors will be on hand to answer questions about HIV prevention and treatment options, including PrEP, a medication that offers another effective means of protection for those testing negative for HIV.
Locally in Philadelphia, AccessMatters is partnering with Walgreens to provide free HIV testing and results on-site within minutes at Walgreens, located at 1 S. Broad Street, Suite 120 (testing located on 2nd floor) in Philadelphia, on June 27th from 10:00am to 7:00pm.
In addition to partnering with Walgreens, as a part of National HIV Testing Day, AccessMatters’ Brothers United Program will also offer testing on a mobile unit at Westminster Avenue and 52nd Street from 10:00am to 4:00pm on June 27th. National HIV Testing Day testing events will conclude with AccessMatters’ staff offering free HIV testing at Washington West at 1201 Locust Street from 6:00pm to Midnight.
“Walgreens has supported people living with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic more than 30 years ago,” said Glen Pietrandoni, senior director, patient care and advocacy, at Walgreens. “Early testing can mean access to effective treatment and the opportunity to go on to live a healthy normal lifespan. In addition, with proper adherence to medication, successfully treated patients cannot easily transmit the virus to others. As we continue to work towards an end to HIV/AIDS, it is crucial that testing and trusted resources on treatment are made more widely available within communities.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends HIV testing as part of routine health care. An estimated 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV and approximately 1 in 7 are unaware of their status.[i] According to the Philadelphia AIDS Activities Coordinating Office, over 19,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in Philadelphia.
”Our work with Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS lets us reach more consumers by offering testing services in locations where they shop each day,” said Melissa Weiler Gerber, President and CEO of AccessMatters. “Access to testing services is critical as we work to normalize testing and de-stigmatize HIV/AIDS in our community.”
“There are more options than ever to prevent and treat HIV,” said Tina Hoff, Senior Vice President and Director, Health Communications and Media Partnerships at the Kaiser Family Foundation, which leads Greater Than AIDS. “The first step is knowing your status. This collaboration normalizes HIV testing as part of everyday life, while helping to educate about these advances.”
The community partnership is part of an ongoing commitment by Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS to broaden the reach of HIV testing and information in non-traditional settings and to support the outreach of local organizations. Year round, HIV-trained pharmacy staff are available at more than 1,000 Walgreens locations nationwide, including communities with high HIV prevalence, offering one-on-one, confidential medication counseling to support treatment adherence, and assisting with other care needs, such as identifying financial assistance options.
For a complete list of participating Walgreens locations and supporting partners for this year’s National HIV Testing Day, as well as additional information about HIV testing, including year-round testing sites, visit www.greaterthan.org/walgreens.
AccessMatters’ Community-based Services offers free testing every Wednesday evening at Washington West at 1201 Locust Street in Philadelphia from 6pm to Midnight. Testing is also available by appointment at AccessMatters at 1700 Market Street. The AccessMatters’ Information Hotline can connect consumers with testing appointments, mobile testing locations, and information about PrEP and PEP in addition to other counseling and referral services. Counselors can be reached by calling 1-800-676-6146 or text “GoTest” to 66746.
AccessMatters is the catalyst for providing access to sexual and reproductive health care for teens and adults in need reaching over 150,000 individuals annually. For more information about AccessMatters programs, visit www.AccessMatters.org, @AccessMatters4U on Twitter, and @AccessMatters on Facebook.
Walgreens (walgreens.com), a provider of trusted care in communities since 1901, is included in the Retail Pharmacy USA Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. Approximately 8 million customers interact with Walgreens in stores and online each day, using the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice. As of Aug. 31, 2017, Walgreens operates 8,100 drugstores with a presence in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, along with its omnichannel business, Walgreens.com. Approximately 400 Walgreens stores offer Healthcare Clinic or other provider retail clinic services.
About Greater Than AIDS
Greater Than AIDS (greaterthan.org) is a leading national public information response focused on the U.S. domestic HIV epidemic. While national in scope, Greater Than AIDS focuses on communities most affected. Through targeted media messages and community outreach, Greater Than AIDS and its partners works to increase knowledge, reduce stigma and promote actions to stem the spread of the disease.
About Kaiser Family Foundation
The Kaiser Family Foundation (kff.org), a leader in health policy analysis, health journalism and communication, is dedicated to filling the need for trusted, independent information on the major health issues facing our nation and its people. The Foundation is a non-profit private operating foundation based in San Francisco, California.
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