Walmart has kicked off a three-month pilot offering free HIV screenings at pharmacies in Petersburg and Ashland, Va. The finger prick blood sample tests will be administered by Walmart pharmacists, and while customers are waiting the 20 to 30 minutes for their results the pharmacists can discuss other preventative measures such a STI tests, contraceptive use, medication to treat or prevent the spread of HIV and vaccines the patient may need.
The tests are screenings, not diagnoses; in the event of a positive test, the pharmacists will help patients work with their primary care physician or the Department of Health for a confirmatory HIV test.
Both pharmacies already are HIV-focused Specialty Pharmacies of the Community (SPOC), meaning they are staffed with HIV-trained pharmacists and community health workers equipped to support HIV/AIDS patients.
“Since launching our HIV training program with the Elton John AIDS Foundation less than a year ago, every single pharmacist across our 85 HIV SPOC locations has completed it,” wrote Kevin Host, SVP, Walmart Health and Wellness, Pharmacy in a blog post. “This training equips pharmacists and clinicians to support patients with or at risk of HIV/AIDS through clinical and culturally relevant education, enabling more compassionate care.
“One of the underlying principles at our SPOCs is overcoming the stigma, and accompanying social barriers, often associated with HIV/AIDS,” Host added. “To do that, we’re expanding our SPOCs to locations with the most need.”