Missed opportunities for HIV screening in pharmacies and retail clinics

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In the wake of new recommendations to offer HIV screening to everyone aged 13-64 years and to start all people living with HIV/AIDS on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) regardless of CD4 count, the need to generate widespread, scalable HIV screening programs is greater than ever. Nearly 50,000 new HIV infections occur in the United States each year, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately half of these new infections are transmitted by individuals who are unaware of their HIV serostatus. Numerous barriers to screening exist, including the lack of primary care for many at-risk patients, expense of screening in traditional settings, and need for repeat testing in high-risk populations. With their relative accessibility and affordability, community pharmacies and retail clinics within those pharmacies are practical and appealing venues for expanded HIV screening. For widespread pharmacy-based testing to become a reality, policymakers and corporate pharmacy leadership would need to develop innovative solutions to the existing time pressures of pharmacists' behind-the-counter functions and absence of reimbursement for direct patient care services. Pharmacists nationwide should also receive training to assist with risk reduction counseling and linkage to care for customers purchasing the new over-the-counter HIV test. © 2014.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy