Chicago is one of seven sites chosen for a new $1.2 million program that will offer free HIV testing at local pharmacies and in-store clinics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Tuesday.
The CDC will train pharmacists to administer HIV tests and offer counseling as part of the two-year project, with the hope that HIV testing will eventually be a normal drugstore feature.
“Our goal is to make HIV testing as routine as a blood pressure check,” Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, said in a statement. “This initiative is one example of how we can make testing routine and help identify the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are unaware that they are infected.”
The Walgreens pharmacy at 75th and State Streets will offer testing in Chicago, and more may be added as the CDC announces 17 more locations by the end of the summer. Sites were chosen based on high HIV prevalence and a need for access to testing.
According to the CDC, an estimated 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, but nearly one in five of those is unaware of their condition. If a patient tests positive at the pharmacy, they will be referred to a local health care provider for confirmation and care.
In addition to the CDC program, Walgreens said it is partnering with Greater Than AIDS to provide free HIV testing from June 27 to June 29 at the following locations: