Advances in the prevention and treatment of HIV are bringing us closer to ending the epidemic, and it all begins by knowing your status.
June 27 is National HIV Testing Day, and Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS are joining with health departments, AIDS service organizations and other community-based organizations to provide free HIV testing and information at select Walgreens stores in 175 cities across the nation.
Whether you're picking up a prescription or grabbing necessities, we at The Advocate encourage you to stop by a participating Walgreens between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on June 27 to get tested and learn more.
Can't make it on June 27, or don't see a participating store near you? Free and low-cost HIV testing, as well as HIV care and treatment services, are available throughout the year in most areas. Click here to find your nearest services.
How do I know it's time to get tested?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Protection recommends that everyone be tested for HIV as a part of routine health care.
Your health care provider can advise how often you should get tested for HIV, as well as other sexually transmitted diseases. For some it may be annually, for others more frequently. Given higher rates of HIV, the CDC and many health departments recommend gay and bisexual men and transgender women get tested for HIV every 3 to 6 months.
After the test: What happens next?
There are more options than ever to stay healthy whether your test results are positive or negative.
If you or a loved one is living with HIV, the most important first step is to see a medical provider to get in care and on treatment. Antiretrovirals, the prescription medications used to treat HIV, work to reduce the amount of virus in the body, often to levels undetectable by standard lab tests. In addition to keeping you healthy, maintaining a low viral load also prevents the spread of the virus to others.
For those who do not have HIV, PrEP offers another powerful means of protection. When taken as prescribed, this once daily pill is highly effective in protecting against HIV. Condoms protect against both HIV and many other common sexually transmitted diseases.
The first step is knowing your status. Make HIV testing a routine part of your health care.
What is Walgreens' commitment to HIV?
The National HIV Testing Day community partnership is part of an ongoing effort with Greater Than AIDS to broaden the reach of HIV testing and information in non-traditional settings and to support the outreach of local organizations. More than 200 health departments, AIDS service organizations and other community-based organizations are supporting the 2018 activation, and more than 40,000 HIV tests have been provided by local agencies since 2011.
Walgreens has HIV-trained pharmacists in more than 1,000 locations across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Walgreens Healthcare Clinic nurse practitioners are trained to provide HIV testing, consultation and prevention services, including PrEP. Clinics are open evenings and weekends. Any Walgreens pharmacist can provide one-on-one medication counseling and other support services. In Virginia, Walgreens works with the Department of Health to provide free HIV testing year round at select Walgreens stores statewide.
Visit a participating Walgreens store June 27 for free HIV testing and information, and learn more from Greater Than AIDS.