JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS are working with health departments, HIV/AIDS service organizations, and other community organizations to provide free HIV testing and information at select Walgreens stores in more than 260 cities on National HIV Testing Day (NHTD), Thursday, June 27 between 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
The metro-area locations that will provide the testing are:
- 977 Ellis Avenue, Jackson
- 310 Meadowbrook Road, Jackson
- 1628 Simpson Highway 49, Magee
Locations in Hattiesburg and Gulfport will also be providing testing.
HIV testing is recommended as part of routine health care, yet many Americans are not being tested as often as advised. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in seven people living with HIV in the U.S. today 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,” said Glen Pietrandoni, senior director, patient care and advocacy, Walgreens. “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 offering on-site free and fast HIV testing, counselors from local agencies will answer questions about HIV prevention and treatment options, including PrEP. No appointment is required.
The use of antiretroviral (ARV) medications to prevent HIV transmission, as well as PrEP, a daily pill to protect against HIV, offer new pathways to ending HIV. Based on the strength of the scientific advances, the White House and many states have set ambitious goals of significantly reducing HIV infections over the next decade.
“Public knowledge has not always kept up with the science,” said Tina Hoff, Senior Vice President and Director of Health Communications and Media Partnerships at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). “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 KFF, which runs Greater Than AIDS, fewer than half of Americans know about PrEP, and many understate the health and preventative benefits of HIV treatment.
The National HIV Testing Day community partnership is part of an ongoing commitment by Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS to extend the reach of HIV testing and information to non-traditional settings and support the outreach of local agencies. More than 48,000 free HIV tests have been provided since 2011 as part of the annual event.
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.