Virginia Department of Health, Walgreens free HIV testing collaboration expands
Access to HIV testing is even more convenient now in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and Walgreens recently expanded no-cost, rapid HIV testing sites from 13 to 32 Walgreens locations across the state.
The collaboration began two years ago in support of National HIV Testing Day with community organizations providing trained counselors to conduct testing at select Walgreens locations and mobile testing units. Last year, the collaboration introduced a new offering at 13 Walgreens locations where specially trained pharmacists administer the tests in private consultation rooms at no charge to the patient. Since establishing those sites, Walgreens pharmacists have performed more than 1,200 tests throughout the state.
“Public health plays an important role in making sure that everyone has access to care, regardless of where they live,” said State Health Commissioner Marissa J. Levine, MD, MPH, FAAFP. “Because of this public-private collaboration, there are 19 more locations in this neighborhood program, allowing more Virginians to know their status and get any necessary follow-up.”
Specially-trained pharmacists provide counseling and support services to patients and can connect individuals to local resources for confirmatory results and subsequent care. The tests are available daily with no appointment necessary, at no charge to the patient, and test results 1 can be provided within minutes.
“Awareness days throughout the year are good reminders to be tested for HIV,” said Levine. “But it’s valuable to keep in mind that testing is available throughout the state every day of the year. The sooner you know your status, the sooner you can take control of your health.”