November 15, 2011
At the U.S. Conference on AIDS in Chicago, Walgreens announced that has now certified more than 500 of its pharmacies as HIV Centers of Excellence (COE) in communities highly impacted by HIV, as identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It will also be expanding its partnership with Greater Than AIDS, a national campaign developed by the Kaiser Family Foundation with the Black AIDS Institute in response to HIV/AIDS in the United States.
The COE pharmacies are staffed with specially-trained pharmacists who work closely with patients to offer guidance and support with their medication therapy, provide refill reminders and help identify financial support programs. These locations are fully stocked with HIV medications often not found at retail pharmacies.
"Since the beginning of the epidemic more than 30 years ago, Walgreens has supported people living with HIV/AIDS through its ability to offer accessible health and wellness guidance to patients across the nation," said Walgreens divisional vice president of retail clinical services Jack Cantlin.
All COE-certified Walgreens pharmacy staff have undergone clinical training through the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, known for its HIV/AIDS pharmaceutical care education program. The program includes cultural and social training related to HIV/AIDS issues and challenges and annual renewal to keep skills and knowledge current.
This June, select Walgreens locations in major markets offered free testing leading up to National HIV Testing Day, as part of the partnership with Greater Than AIDS. Testing was done in coordination with the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA), CDC, state and local health departments and AIDS service organizations in select markets, including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, New Orleans, Oakland and San Francisco. Due to the success of this testing pilot, the drugstore chain is now working with Greater Than AIDS to identify future testing and outreach opportunities to reach those in need. Walgreens also partners with Greater Than AIDS on targeted informational materials on HIV/AIDS for Walgreens customers and in-store signage in heavily affected areas.
Walgreens is also working with AIDS United and national AIDS service organizations to help advance the organization's mission to end HIV/AIDS in the United States and Puerto Rico. The company has joined AIDS United's Access to Care initiative, to help link thousands of individuals living with HIV/AIDS in low-income and/or rural areas with the high quality care they need.
"With HIV Centers of Excellence from coast to coast, we are uniquely positioned to work closely with grassroots organizations and communities to help provide access, education and support to those living with and affected by AIDS," said Walgreens senior manager of HIV and AIDS United board member Glen Pietrandoni.
To find a Walgreens COE location or for information about HIV/AIDS, visit HIV.Walgreens.com. To learn more about HIV/AIDS facts from the CDC by region or state, log on to cdc.gov/hiv/default.htm. More information about Walgreens' involvement with Greater Than AIDS, visit greaterthan.org/Walgreens.