Walgreens Boots Alliance Signs UNAIDS Business Alliance Pledge to End HIV/AIDS by 2030; Expands HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention Efforts

Dec 4, 2019 11:20 AM ET
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Walgreens Boots Alliance Signs UNAIDS Business Alliance Pledge to End HIV/AIDS by 2030; Expands HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention Efforts

Dec.1 was World AIDS Day, a day commemorating the more than 35 million people who have died from AIDS and an annual call-to-action to end the disease and support people living with HIV/AIDS.  Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), which includes Walgreens, has worked for several years to advance HIV/AIDS awareness and research.

“We’ve made significant progress as a society through collaboration across public and private sectors to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS globally, but we must remain vigilant,” said Glen Pietrandoni, Walgreens senior director of patient care and advocacy.  “Walgreens Boots Alliance is committed to advancing awareness, research and supporting people affected by HIV/AIDS. This issue speaks to our broader Company purpose, which is to help people around the world live healthier, happier lives.”

In recent weeks, WBA, including Walgreens, have announced new collaborations:

Walgreens Announces Partnership with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to Provide Free HIV Prevention Medicine

Walgreens has joined Ready, Set, PrEP, a new national program from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for eligible patients at no cost. The program is part of Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE): A Plan for America, an initiative that aims to reduce the number of new HIV infections in the United States by 75% in five years and 90% by 2030. HHS and Walgreens will also work together to develop informational materials for distribution in Walgreens stores and to distribute the donated PrEP product through Walgreens pharmacies.

WBA Joins UNAIDS Business Alliance to End AIDS

This past week, WBA signed the Business Alliance to End AIDS by 2030, led by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). Signatories pledge to champion one of several work streams, including advocacy, workplace and sector-based action, ultimately with the goal of helping to end HIV/AIDS in the next 10 years. The Business Alliance will officially launch on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Jan.  22, 2020.

Walgreens Pledges $50,000 to CDC Foundation HIV Initiative

Walgreens also announced that it will provide $50,000 toward the CDC Foundation’s ‘Ending the HIV Epidemic Fund.’  The donation will help to fill funding gaps and provide immediate resources to address unmet needs.

“We are excited to receive this lead gift from Walgreens, which we hope will serve as a catalytic donation to encourage others to step forward and support this critical initiative,” said Judith Monroe, MD, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “The HIV epidemic has taken hundreds of thousands of lives in this country, and we now have an opportunity to stop the epidemic in its tracks. We must seize this opportunity by working together across all sectors to meet this challenge.”

Walgreens Partners with Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) to Educate Customers about HIV/AIDS

On Dec. 1, Walgreens and SNPhA hosted in-store booths at roughly 70 Walgreens stores nationwide. Members of SNPhA provided consumers with information about HIV/AIDS, disease prevention and treatment options. These recent efforts are part of Walgreens Boots Alliance’s, primarily Walgreens, longstanding efforts which include:

Greater than AIDS – Free Annual HIV Testing Day. For the past nine years, Walgreens has partnered with the Kaiser Family Foundation on a program called Greater Than AIDS, which brings together various health departments, HIV/AIDS service organizations, and other community organizations to provide free HIV testing at Walgreens stores nationwide on National HIV Testing Day, held on June 27.

On testing day, consumers visit Walgreens stores to receive free and fast tests performed by testing partners, without appointment. In addition to testing, customers also learn about advances in HIV treatment and effective HIV prevention strategies with medication such as PrEP.  Since 2011, more than 57,000 free HIV tests have been provided through National HIV Testing Day.

Walgreens Partnership with Prevention Access on Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) Campaign. The U.S. retailer was the first U.S. national pharmacy chain to join the U=U campaign, which promotes awareness that people with HIV who are on treatment and have an undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV through sex. As part of supporting the campaign, U=U and Walgreens are working together to improve medication adherence, educate and empower patients, and reduce the stigma associated with HIV and HIV treatment. Founded in 2016, the U=U campaign U=U has expanded into a global movement of over 870 medical, research, governmental and community organizations from 98 countries.

Walgreens Research to Improve Patient Care. Walgreens supports research to identify ways to improve pharmacist-delivered patient care. The company is also committed to improving adherence and working closely with physicians to coordinate patient care. In a recent study,  Walgreens, the CDC and others partnered to determine the effectiveness of new Patient-Centered HIV Care Models (PCHCM). Results from their study demonstrated that implementation of the PCHCM improved viral suppression, which is critical to decreasing transmission risk and death.

You can read more about WBA’s global Corporate Social Responsibility agenda here