Cross-posted from HIV.gov
On December 1, 2022, we celebrated World AIDS Day—Putting Ourselves to the Test: Achieving Equity to End HIV, which highlights the importance of HIV testing using a status-neutral approach. The Greater Than AIDS / Walgreens National HIV Community Partnership (NHCP) does just that.
Since 2011, KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation), through its Greater Than AIDS public information initiative, and Walgreens, have teamed with health departments and HIV / other community-based organizations (ASOs / CBOs) across the nation to provide free HIV testing and information in Walgreens stores in support of National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) on June 27th.
Largest HIV Testing Partnership in the U.S.
After a two-year pause due to COVID-19, the 2022 Greater Than AIDS / Walgreens National HIV Community Partnership (NHCP) saw an enthusiastic return to stores with the highest number of testing organizations participating in the program’s history.
More than 250 testing partners were on site in 356 Walgreens stores in 247 cities across the nation on June 27th providing free HIV testing and referrals for PrEP and HIV care. With a priority on high-need areas, the 2022 NHCP included 50 of 57 Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) regions.
To date, the NHCP has provided more than 76,900 free HIV tests, including 61,500+ in-store and 15,300+ self-tests donated in 2020 / 21 to expand access during COVID. Many more have been reached with informational resources about the latest in prevention and treatment.
A Model Public-Private Partnership
The CDC has reported a drop in HIV testing during COVID-19, including declines of nearly 50 percent among groups disproportionately affected by HIV. To compensate for HIV testing and diagnoses missed during COVID-19, as well as to close the gaps in access, the CDC encourages partnerships with state and local health departments and CBOs. Precisely the type of unique public-private partnership model fostered by KFF and Walgreens over the past decade with the NHCP.
In addition to providing accessible HIV testing in the familiar environment of a local Walgreens, the 2022 NHCP provided a particularly important re-engagement opportunity for the testing partners with the communities they serve. Eight in 10 say participation helps their organization engage their community about the importance of HIV testing and seven in 10 say it raises visibility for their organization in the community.
“In the atmosphere of COVID-19, many people were putting HIV out-of-sight and out-of-mind … this event was an excellent opportunity to highlight information concerning undetectable, PrEP, and getting tested,” shared Metro Health (Baton Rouge, LA). SisterLove, Inc. (Atlanta, GA) similarly commented, “This in-person testing day brought us back to the community.”
Join the 2023 Greater Than AIDS / Walgreens National HIV Community Partnership!
Recruitment of new testing partners is underway, and sign-ups will open in early 2023. If your organization is interested in providing free HIV testing in a local Walgreens store on National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) – Tuesday, June 27, 2023 – please email email@example.com.
Together, we can end HIV!