Teaming Up for HIV Testing

Whitman-Walker, Walgreens, Greater Than AIDS partner to offer free screenings for National HIV Testing Day

Whitman-Walker Health, the community nonprofit center that specializes in LGBT culturally competent care and HIV/AIDS, will be partnering with Walgreens pharmacy stores and Greater Than AIDS, a coalition of public- and private-sector organizations dedicated to combating HIV/AIDS, to offer free HIV testing from June 27 to 29 at local Walgreens stores in support of National HIV Testing Day, June 27.

The local testing, performed by Whitman-Walker testers, will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, at two Walgreens locations, one at 4225 Connecticut Ave. NW, the other at 1217 22nd St. NW.

This will be the third year in a row that Walgreens, Greater Than AIDS and local service organizations have partnered to provide the free testing.

”HIV is an epidemic in Washington, D.C.,” Dr. Raymond C. Martins, Whitman-Walker’s chief medical officer, said in a statement. ”A number of people do not think they are at risk for acquiring HIV, which prevents a lot of people from getting tested.

”One of the most important things you can do for your health and the health of the community is get tested for HIV,” Martins continued. ”We are fortunate that in the D.C. area there is great access to care and medication for those found to have HIV. For all of these reasons, the importance of getting everyone in the District of Columbia tested is evident. This collaboration with Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS will allow us to inform new audiences of the importance of getting tested, knowing your HIV status, and taking care of your health.”

Whitman-Walker will also be providing free HIV testing June 27 at its Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center, 1701 14th St. NW, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; at its Max Robinson Center, 2301 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and on Capitol Hill near the intersection of New Jersey Avenue and C Street NW from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.

In addition, nearly 175 Walgreens stores in 54 cities across 22 states will be providing testing, which will be coordinated by state and local health departments and AIDS service organizations. For information on participating stores, visit greaterthan.org/walgreens.

”Access to testing, education and care are critical when it comes to the treatment and prevention of this complex condition,” Glen Pietrandoni, senior manager of virology at Walgreens, said in a statement. ”We have supported people living with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic more than 30 years ago and will continue to be a trusted resource. Through this significant collaboration, we can help even more people get, stay and live well.”

”Frequent testing is the first step towards early treatment and preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS,” Tina Hoff, senior vice president and director of health communication and media partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation, a founding partner of Greater Than AIDS. ”Greater Than AIDS is pleased to once again mark National HIV Testing Day by collaborating with Walgreens and local and state governments to broaden access to HIV tests for people in many of the nation’s hardest-hit communities.”

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com