The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (Metro Health) Alamo Area Resource Center, Center for Health Care Services (Centro de Vida, HIP-SA and Project HOT), San Antonio AIDS Foundation, San Antonio Fighting Back, UTHSCSA (The PLAY Campaign and Community STORM) and Mujeres Unidas are teaming up with Walgreens, the nation’s largest pharmacy chain, and Greater Than AIDS, a coalition of public and private sector partners united in response to the domestic epidemic, to provide FREE HIV testing at four Walgreens stores in San Antonio, Texas. The testing events are taking place June 27-29 in support of National HIV Testing Day.
The four Walgreens locations offering testing include: 3065 Rigsby Avenue, 410 W Cypress, 4703 W Commerce and 138 SW Military Drive.
State and local health departments and AIDS service organizations are coordinating the testing and providing results on-site at participating Walgreens locations, as well as supporting outreach. Testing locations include nearly 175 Walgreens stores in 54 cities across 22 states. Hundreds of additional Walgreens stores in the participating communities will help publicize the free testing through in-store marketing and other programs. Walgreens will also help promote National HIV Testing Day, on June 27, with special messages on its Times Square digital display in New York City, the largest billboard of its kind in the country.
This marks the third consecutive year Walgreens has teamed with Greater Than AIDS and local organizations to help bring free HIV testing to communities. This year, more than three times the number of stores and testing partners are participating compared to 2012.
There are more than 4,700 individuals known to be living with HIV in Bexar County at the end of 2011. It is estimated that one in five people infected with HIV do not know that they are infected. This represents an additional 1,100 individuals in Bexar County unaware of their infection with HIV.
Free HIV testing will also be available at select Walgreens locations across the country. For more information, including a complete list of participating Walgreens locations, visit www.greaterthan.org/walgreens.
“Access to testing, education and care are critical when it comes to the treatment and prevention of this complex condition,” said Glen Pietrandoni, senior manager of virology at Walgreens. “We have supported people living with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic more than 30 years ago and will continue to be a trusted resource. Through this significant collaboration, we can help even more people get, stay and live well.”
Of the more than 1.1 million people living with HIV in the U.S. today, an estimated one in five, or nearly a quarter of a million people, do not know it.1 One third of those who are positive are diagnosed so late in the course of their infection they develop AIDS within one year. 2 Early diagnosis and treatment saves lives and is known to reduce the spread of HIV. The CDC encourages everyone to know their status.
“Frequent testing is the first step towards early treatment and preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS,” said Tina Hoff, Senior Vice President and Director of Health Communication and Media Partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation, a founding partner of Greater Than AIDS. “Greater than AIDS is pleased to once again mark National HIV Testing Day by collaborating with Walgreens and local and state governments to broaden access to HIV tests for people in many of the nation’s hardest-hit communities.”
Throughout the year, Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS distribute HIV informational resources at 700 Walgreens pharmacies in heavily affected communities. Designated by Walgreens as “Centers of Excellence,” these stores have pharmacists on hand to offer one-on-one medication counseling and other support services that provide customers living with HIV/AIDS – and their families – with compassionate, confidential care.
For more information
- Carol Schliesinger, Metro Health, 210.207.8172
- Vivika Panagiotakakos, Walgreens, 847.315.2923
- HIV in the United States: At a Glance
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV Surveillance Report, 2010; vol. 22. March 2012. Accessed May 30, 2013.