“While most of the U.S. population lives within five miles of a Walgreens pharmacy, transportation remains a critical barrier to accessing health care,” said Kevin Ban, MD, Walgreens’s chief medical officer, in the press release. “With more than half of Walgreens stores located in socially vulnerable or underserved communities, we can help make HIV prevention and treatment options more accessible, convenient and equitable across our communities.”
This is the latest stepWalgreens has taken to bolster its HIV services. Last year, the chain joined other corporate leaders to launch the U.S. Business Action to End HIV, a coalition to boost public and private partnerships to fight the epidemic.
What’s more, Walgreens operates over 300 specialty pharmacies devoted to HIV treatment and prevention, and the chain has collaborated with numerous organizations to offer free HIV testing on National HIV Testing Day, observed each June 27.
“Over one million people in the U.S. have HIV, and the disease disproportionately impacts traditionally underserved populations,” said Julia Paige, Uber’s head of global social impact, in the press release. “By combining Walgreens’s nationwide network of pharmacies with Uber’s industry-leading technology, our partnership will help reduce transportation and access barriers so that those who need it most can get their prescription delivered right to their door at no cost to them.”
“Local delivery has broadened access for communities across the U.S.,” added Elizabeth Jarvis-Shean, DoorDash’s vice president of communications and policy. “DoorDash is proud to partner with Walgreens to power the free same-day delivery of medication to prevent or treat HIV. Transportation barriers and other challenges can prevent people from accessing the medicine they need.”
Two years ago, DoorDash united with GMHC, the nation’s oldest AIDS service organization, to help deliver meals to GMHC’s clients—and to offer them employment opportunities.
Walgreens isn’t the only big-name chain reaching out to the HIV community. For example, Walmart recently expanded its HIV pharmacies and launched a training program with funding from the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
In related news, several states are passing laws that allow pharmacists to provide PrEP and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) to customers without a prescription. For the latest development, see “California Bill Allows Pharmacists to Provide More PrEP to Prevent HIV.”