Walmart pharmacists at two Virginia locations will be able to offer HIV screenings, as well as counseling on preventive measures.
As it marks World AIDS Day, Walmart has unveiled a three-month pilot program that will bring free HIV screenings to two of its pharmacies in Virginia. The retailer believes that the initiative is an important first step in the fight against HIV and AIDS in the communities that it serves.
The two pharmacies participating in the pilot are located in the Virginia cities of Petersburg and Ashland, and are already HIV-focused Specialty Pharmacies of the Community (SPOC). They are staffed with HIV-trained pharmacists and community health workers who have a unique understanding of patient needs and are equipped to support HIV and AIDS patients throughout their health journeys.
The HIV test, which will be administered by Walmart pharmacists, is done through a finger prick blood sample, and results are available within 20 to 30 minutes. Pharmacists will also be able to share other preventive measures with patients while the screening is being completed.
While the screening should not be considered a diagnosis, pharmacists are equipped to help patients work with their primary care physician or the Department of Health to order a confirmatory test in the event of a positive result.
“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 recent company 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.”
Continued Host: “One of the underlying principles at our Specialty Pharmacies of the Community is overcoming the stigma, and accompanying social barriers, often associated with HIV/AIDS. To do that, we’re expanding our SPOCs to locations with the most need.”
Walmart has launched 85 HIV-focused SPOCs across 11 states and is planning more in the future.
Each week, approximately 230 million customers and members visit Walmart’s more than 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites under 46 banners in 24 countries. The Bentonville, Ark.-based company employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named Walmart one of its Retailers of the Century.