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Walgreens in CDC pilot to offer free HIV tests

BY Marianne Wilson

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.

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FINANCE

Ritz Camera files for bankruptcy; to close 128 stores

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Ritz Camera & Image has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As part of its restructuring, the company, which has 265 stores in 34 states, plans to close 128 locations and cut its staff of 2,000 in half.

This is the second time Ritz has sought protection under the bankruptcy laws, having emerged from Chapter 11 two years ago.

The recent bankruptcy filing reveals that Ritz Camera has between $50 million and $100 million in assets and liabilities. Its largest unsecured creditors include Sony Corp. of America, Fuji Photo North America and Nikon.

Ritz operates stores under a variety of banners, including Ritz Camera, Wolf Camera, and The Camera Shop.

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CE industry expects spending boosts on improved consumer confidence

BY CSA STAFF

ARLINGTON, Va. — Consumers are feeling more positive about the overall economy and are growing more likely to make technology purchase, according to the latest CEA Index from the Consumer Electronics Association.

Consumer sentiment toward technology improved for a second straight month, reaching 89.5 in June. The CEA Index of Consumer Technology Expectations (ICTE) rose nearly two points and is at the highest June reading since the inception of the Index in January 2007. The ICTE, which measures consumer expectations about technology spending, is up more than seven points from this time last year.

“Despite continued global upheaval, gas prices are declining, which is likely relieving some pressure on consumer spending, which in turn is allowing consumers to feel like they can allocate more money to technology,” said Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s chief economist and senior director of research.

Consumer confidence in the overall economy also improved in June. The CEA Index of Consumer Expectations (ICE) climbed to 170.4, an increase of 2.6 points from last month. The ICE, which measures consumer expectations about the broader economy, is up more than ten points from this time last year.

“Sentiment about the economy is up from this time last year,” said DuBravac. “However after several months of declines, a flat equity market and continued volatility in global economies, sentiment will likely remain under pressure.”

The CEA Indexes comprise the ICE and ICTE, both of which are updated on a monthly basis through consumer surveys. New data is released on the fourth Tuesday of each month. CEA has been tracking index data since January 2007.

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