Deerfield, Ill. -- Walgreens announced it is participating in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pilot program to help connect more people with HIV to care. Through the first phase of the two-year program, select Walgreens pharmacies in Chicago, and Washington, D.C., and a select Take Care Clinic in Lithonia, Ga., are offering free HIV testing.
According to the CDC, an estimated 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, but nearly one in five of those infected is unaware of their condition.
Testing is free to those getting tested. Walgreens pharmacists and Take Care nurse practitioners are trained to deliver confidential HIV testing and counseling. If a preliminary positive is identified, the provider will refer the patient to a local health care provider for confirmatory testing and care. They will also be given a list of community based organizations to help address other health or social issues.
The CDC plans to use pilot results from select pharmacies and in-store clinics in urban and rural areas identified as highly impacted by HIV to develop a model that pharmacists and nurse practitioners can use to implement HIV testing throughout the nation.