With in-person health services limited due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Greater Than AIDS, a public information initiative of KFF, and Walgreens are partnering together.
Together, the companies are launching a program aiming to provide 10,000 OraQuick In-Home HIV Test kits to support expanded testing options in high-need areas. Local health agencies and community-based organizations will distribute the FDA-approved, self-administered tests at no cost to those unable to get tested in person.
Just ahead of the 25th anniversary of National HIV Testing Day on June 27, the announcement comes at a critical time with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is estimating that HIV testing is down 50% to 70% since February.
“As COVID-19 continues, we are seeing how it threatens other health responses,” Tina Hoff, a senior vice president at KFF said. “This program aims to support frontline HIV service organizations as they transition to new ways of providing care during these difficult times.”
Walgreens is providing a donation for the purchase of 9,000 OraQuick HIV test kits with an additional 1,000 donated by OraSure Technologies, the manufacturer of the rapid oral swab HIV self-tests. KFF, through Greater Than AIDS, is managing distribution of the test kits to community partners.
“While HIV testing efforts may look different than in years past, we’re honored to collaborate with Greater Than AIDS in our 10th year of working together to highlight the critical role testing plays in prevention and care,” Luke Sauter, Walgreens vice president of specialty pharmacy said. “Walgreens continues to advocate for HIV testing, education and care in the communities we serve with over 3,000 HIV-trained specialists in our stores.”
More than 325 community partners in 215 cities and 47 states have signed on to provide free HIV testing in Walgreens stores across the country as part of the 2020 Greater Than AIDS/Walgreens National HIV Community partnership.
These community partners — including those in the 48 counties across the Federal Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America — will be prioritized to receive the free HIV self-tests through this program.
“When it comes to eradicating HIV, the first step is to know your HIV status. On this year’s National HIV Testing Day, we are honored to work with Greater Than AIDS and Walgreens to provide OraQuick In-Home HIV Tests to allow testing at home or wherever is convenient,” Stephen Tang, OraSure Technologies president and CEO said. “COVID-19 has interrupted so much of ‘normal’ life. Let’s make sure it doesn’t halt the fight against HIV/AIDS.”
Greater Than AIDS and Walgreens also will provide community partners with informational materials and digital promotions to support awareness and outreach.