Walgreens offering free HIV testing on June 27

Teens and adults can get free HIV testing on June 27, National HIV Testing Day, at participating Walgreens stores across Atlanta including the Candler/McAfee store in Decatur.

Atlanta is among 180 cities where Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS, a leading national public information response to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic, are working with 220 health departments, AIDS service organizations, and other community organizations to help provide free HIV testing and information.

Walgreens offering free HIV testing on June 27

The tests will be available from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Nationally, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says an estimated 1.1 million people are living with HIV and that approximately one in seven of them is unaware of their status.

It recommends HIV testing as a part of routine health care.

The CDC says that in 2016 almost 40,000 people, primarily minorities, were newly diagnosed with HIV. Adults under age 35 accounted for 56 percent of new HIV diagnoses, and about 70 percent of those diagnosed came from the LGBTQ community; 44 percent were African Americans, and 25 percent were Hispanics or Latinos.

The highest impacted areas nationally include California, Florida, Texas, New York and Georgia.

Walgreens says that since 2011, more than 40,000 HIV tests have been conducted as part of its free testing initiative.

BioLytical Laboratories and OraSure Technologies Inc. are donating test kits and Abbott Rapid Diagnostics is providing support for outreach. 

Local agencies will be at participating Walgreens stores to provide free, confidential, and fast test results on-site.

No appointment is needed.

Local testing partners will provide trained counselors to conduct the testing and will provide results on-site within minutes. 

Counselors will also answer questions about HIV prevention and treatment options, including PrEP, a medication that offers another effective means of protection for those testing negative for HIV.

Glen Pietrandoni, Walgreens senior director of patient care and advocacy, said it is crucial that testing and trusted treatment resources are made more widely available within communities.

“Early testing can mean access to effective treatment and the opportunity to go on to live a healthy normal lifespan,” Pietrandoni said. “In addition, with proper adherence to medication, successfully treated patients cannot easily transmit the virus to others.”

He said Walgreens has supported people living with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic more than 30 years ago.

For a complete list of participating stores, visit www.greaterthan.org/walgreens.