Walmart Unveils New Initiatives to Combat HIV

Retailer shares update on World AIDS Day
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Walmart and EJ
Walmart is expanding its partnership Elton John AIDS Foundation to provide preventative care and treatment.

For World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, Walmart shared the steps it has taken over the past 40 years to help people cope with and prevent the virus that that has impacted millions of people around the globe. Those efforts include more recent actions, such as the retailer’s partnership with the Elton John AIDS Foundation that began in 2021.

In addition, Walmart is lending its expertise and reach as a founding member of the U.S. Business Action to End HIV, a new coalition of businesses committed to accelerating progress to end HIV in the U.S. by 2030. CVS Health and Walgreens are members of that group as well. 

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Walmart’s proactive support also includes the recent launch of three Specialty Pharmacies of the Community designed to help customers with all aspects of care. HIV-trained pharmacists are part of that program, along with team members who provide enhanced care coordination, healthy lifestyle recommendations and emotional support services.

Government statistics show that 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the U.S. today, with about 400,000 not on regular HIV treatment. “At Walmart, we want to change that with access to education, services and resources. With more than 4,600 pharmacies in the U.S. and 90% of the U.S. population located within 10 miles of a Walmart, we have an opportunity to reach people who might not otherwise have access to or seek out HIV care,” wrote Kevin Host, SVP of Walmart health and wellness, pharmacy, and Dr. John Wigneswaran, Walmart's chief medical officer, in a message to consumers.

Looking ahead, Host and Wigneswaran shared other measures that the country’s top retailer is taking to accelerate the end of AIDS, including the addition of four new HIV-focused Specialty Pharmacies of the Community in early 2023. Those pharmacies will be located in North Brunswick, N.J., Monticello, N.Y., North Bergen, N.J. and Hartford, Conn.

Also in the works is a nationwide HIV prevention and treatment continuing education pharmacist and provider training program. Created in collaboration with the Elton John AIDS Foundation and designed by Duke University, the program will be open to all Walmart pharmacists and Walmart Health team members.

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 The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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