Nashville CARES, Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS Team Up to Offer Free HIV Testing in Support of National HIV Testing Day
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
June 18, 2014– Nashville CARES is teaming up with Walgreens, the nation’s largest drugstore chain, and Greater Than AIDS, a leading national public information response to the U.S. domestic epidemic, to offer free HIV testing at select Walgreens stores in Middle Tennessee. The testing events are taking place June 26-28 in support of National HIV Testing Day.
Nashville CARES is among state and local health departments and AIDS service organizations across the country that are coordinating testing and providing results on-site at participating Walgreens locations, as well as supporting community outreach.
“Nashville CARES is pleased to partner with Walgreens again to offer testing at local pharmacies,” said Joseph Interrante, Nashville CARES CEO. “In addition to providing easy access to this vital service, our presence helps reduce the stigma that is unfortunately still associated with HIV by normalizing testing as a routine health screening that everyone should do at least once a year.”
This marks the fourth consecutive year Walgreens has teamed with Greater Than AIDS and local organizations to help offer free HIV testing to communities. This year’s effort doubles the number of participating markets from last year. Participating Middle Tennessee Walgreens are: 1081 Murfreesboro Pike, 2611 Franklin Pike, 1131 Mercury Blvd and 3130 Clarksville Pike. Testing is offered Thursday, June 26 and Friday, June 27 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, June 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
There are more than 6,800 people living with HIV and AIDS in Middle Tennessee, which is 30 percent of the state’s cases. In 2012, 294 people were diagnosed with HIV and AIDS in Middle Tennessee. Fifty-seven percent of new diagnoses are in Davidson County, but new cases have been reported in every county. Due to advances in diagnoses and treatment, the number of HIV/AIDS related deaths has declined 70 percent since 2008.
“Since the beginning of the epidemic, Walgreens has served as a trusted resource to help people know their status and manage their condition,” said Glen Pietrandoni, senior director, virology, specialty products and services, Walgreens. “We are proud to collaborate with Greater Than AIDS and community partners to increase access to testing and education which we know is critical to being a part of the solution to end AIDS.”
Of the more than 1.1 million people living with HIV in the U.S., an estimated one in six do not know that they are infected and only one and four has their virus under control with treatment  Early diagnosis and treatment saves lives and is known to reduce the spread of HIV. Those with HIV who are on treatment and in care can reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others by as much as 96 percent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages everyone to know their status.
“Greater Than AIDS is about communities working together to achieve a greater goal. These testing events are powerful examples of what can be achieved when the public and private sector come together in response to 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. “Not only will thousands have access to free testing in a familiar and trusted location in their neighborhoods, but the very act of offering the tests in Walgreens helps to normalize HIV testing as a part of routine health care.”
Free HIV testing is available at select Walgreens locations across the country. For more information, including a complete list of participating Walgreens locations, visit www.greaterthan.org/walgreens.
As the nation’s largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2013 sales of $72 billion, Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) vision is to be the first choice in health and daily living for everyone in America, and beyond. Each day, Walgreens provides more than 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. The company operates 8,216 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 750 locations throughout the country.
About Greater Than AIDS
Greater Than AIDS is a leading national public information response focused on the U.S. domestic epidemic. Launched in 2009, it is supported by a broad coalition of public and private sector partners, including: major media and other business leaders; Federal, state and local health agencies and departments; national leadership groups; AIDS service and other community organizations; and foundations, among others. Through targeted media messages and community outreach, Greater Than AIDS works to increase knowledge, reduce stigma and promote actions to stem the spread of the disease. While national in scope, Greater Than AIDS focuses on communities most affected.
The Kaiser Family Foundation provides strategic direction and day-to-day management, as well as oversees the production of the campaigns. The Black AIDS Institute – a think tank exclusively focused on AIDS in Black America – provides leadership and expert guidance and supports community engagement. Additional financial and substantive support is provided by the Elton John AIDS Foundation and Ford Foundation, among others.
About Nashville CARES
Nashville CARES offers services annually to more than 60,000 Middle Tennesseans infected and affected by HIV/AIDS including: HIV prevention education to over 44,000 youth and adults, 13,000 FREE confidential HIV tests, and support services to 2,500 men, women and children living with the disease. For information about Nashville CARES, visit www.NashvilleCARES.org and “like” us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/NashCARES