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Walgreens, CDC team up on HIV prevention

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DEERFIELD, Ill., and ATLANTA — Walgreens has made a donation to help fund the CDC Foundation’s Sustainable Healthcenter Implementation PrEP Pilot (SHIPP) study to foster HIV prevention.

PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a medication protocol for people who don’t have HIV to help protect against HIV infection.

The SHIPP study aims to address the spread of HIV/AIDS by answering questions about the delivery, outcomes, cost and sustainability of PrEP when provided as a clinical prevention service in community settings. For the purpose of best practices that can be sustained, replicated and scaled across communities, PrEP is being administered by providers using procedures representative of real-world use, the CDC Foundation and Walgreens said.

According to CDC data, when taken consistently, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk by more than 90%. The SHIPP study is seens as a significant and much-needed contribution to the evidence base for future decision-making around PrEP delivery in the United States.

“With a decades-long commitment to the HIV community, at Walgreens we recognize the important role that pharmacies play in addressing the nationwide HIV/AIDS epidemic,” Glen Pietrandoni, senior director of patient care and advocacy for Walgreens, said in a statement. “Supporting the CDC Foundation and its SHIPP study is another way, in addition to providing our patients with HIV testing services as well as medication, for us to contribute to the research and advancement in HIV prevention and treatment. We encourage other potential companies and organizations to join in support of this work.”

The PrEP initiative follows last year’s collaboration between Walgreens and the CDC Foundation on the Zika outbreak.

“We are very grateful to Walgreens for stepping forward during the early days of the Zika response and, more recently, for their contributions to help prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS through support of our SHIPP study,” stated Judith Monroe, president and chief executive officer of the CDC Foundation. “Integrating PrEP as a prevention strategy has the capability to change the course of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but first we must better understand how to increase access, uptake and medication adherence.”

For the 2016 Zika virus outbreak, the CDC Foundation activated its emergency response fund early in the year to assist the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during the Zika response. Immediately following this activation, Walgreens joined as one of the first partners in the Zika response for the CDC Foundation, including support for communications activities as well as implementing in-store efforts to educate pregnant women in high-risk areas about how to protect themselves and their unborn children from Zika.

At its stores in Puerto Rico, Walgreens dedicated high-traffic space to provide information on CDC-recommended steps to prevent the spread of Zika virus.

“Collaborations like the two we have embarked on with the CDC Foundation play a vital role in getting important health messages out to key audiences,” Pietrandoni added. “After experiencing the positive outcomes that arose from working together on last year’s Zika outbreak, we saw tremendous potential in working with them to help address the HIV/AIDS health challenge.”


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