Greater Than AIDS and Walgreens are working with health departments, HIV/AIDS service organizations, and other community organizations to provide free testing on National HIV Testing Day. Walgreens will provide free HIV testing and information at select Walgreens stores in over 260 cities on Thursday, June 27 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST.

HIV testing is a recommended part of routine health care, yet many Americans are not getting tested as often as advised. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in seven HIV positive individuals in the United States are unaware of their status.

“Walgreens continues to support HIV testing since it is a critical first step in developing effective prevention and care strategies, regardless of status,” Glen Pietrandoni, senior director, patient care and advocacy HIV for Walgreens, said in a press release. “With more than 3,000 HIV-trained Walgreens pharmacists in communities across the nation, we can uniquely support HIV testing, education and care, working towards an end to HIV/AIDS.”

In addition to providing free and fast on-site HIV testing, counselors from local agencies will also be available to answer questions about HIV prevention and treatment options, including Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). No appointment is required to talk to the counselors.

The use of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a daily pill to protect against HIV, to prevent HIV transmission, as well as antiretroviral (ARV) medications, offer new ways to end HIV.

“Public knowledge has not always kept up with the science,” Tina Hoff, Senior Vice President and Director of Health Communications and Media Partnerships at Kaiser Family Foundation, said. “Public-private partnerships like this help to close the knowledge gaps about HIV and connect people with services in their communities to get the care they need.”

According to a recent national survey by Kaiser Family Foundation, which runs Greater Than Aids, fewer than half of American citizens know about Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, and many do not believe in the health and preventative benefits of HIV treatment.

The National HIV Testing Day community partnership is part of an ongoing commitment by Greater Than AIDS and Walgreens to extend the reach of HIV testing and information to non-orthodox settings and to support the outreach of local agencies. Nearly 50,000 free HIV tests have been provided since 2011 as part of the annual event.

For a complete list of participating Walgreens branches and supporting partners of this year’s National HIV Testing Day, as well as additional information regarding HIV testing, including year-round testing sites, visit this site.

HIV Testing
HIV testing. Belova59 / Pixabay