Walgreens, Greater Than AIDS to partner with local orgs for National HIV Testing Day

DEERFIELD — Pharmacy chain Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS announced Monday that they would partner with local organizations to provide free testing for National HIV Testing Day. According to a press release, Walgreens will provide free HIV testing at locations in 260 cities on Thursday, June 27, between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. They’ll be working with local health departments, HIV/AIDS service organizations, and other community organizations to provide the testing. “Walgreens continues to support HIV testing since it is a critical first step in developing effective prevention and care strategies, regardless of status,” said Glen Pietrandoni, senior director, patient care and advocacy, Walgreens. “With more than 3,000 HIV-trained Walgreens pharmacists in communities across the nation, we can uniquely support HIV testing, education and care, working towards an end to HIV/AIDS.”
In addition to offering on-site free and fast HIV testing, counselors from local agencies will answer questions about HIV prevention and treatment options, including PrEP. No appointment is required. BioLytical Laboratories, Chembio Diagnostics, and OraSure Technologies, Inc. are contributing donated test kits and Abbott Rapid Diagnostics is providing support for outreach for the event.

AIDS Foundation of Chicago welcomes Nadeen Israel as new VP of Policy

CHICAGO — Last week, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) announced that Nadeen Israel as their new vice president of policy. In an email announcement, the AFC said that Israel started at the organization in 2018 as the director of policy. In her new role as VP of policy and advocacy, she will provide guidance to help AFC create a  policy strategy that supports the HIV community and advances health equity. 

“I’m humbled to have this opportunity and energized to work with my AFC colleagues and our partners to create equity and justice for people living with and vulnerable to HIV,” said Israel in the announcement. Prior to AFC, Israel served as the director of policy and advocacy at EverThrive Illinois where she led the organization’s policy development and implementation efforts on issues ranging from Medicaid and the ACA to maternal and infant mortality and morbidity. 

“Her deep knowledge of health policy and the social determinants of health, such as housing, will help AFC move the needle on our major initiatives, including the Getting to Zero Illinois plan, which aims to end the HIV epidemic by 2030,” said AFC’s President/CEO John Peller. “I am proud to appoint a strong, smart, compassionate woman of color to this role and look forward to continuing to work with Nadeen.” 

Red Ribbon Gala Pt. 2 in the Quad Cities

DAVENPORT, Iowa — The Project of the Quad Cities holds it’s Red Ribbon Gala on Saturday, April 13, at the Rhythm City Casino in Davenport. This is the rescheduled annual Red Ribbon Gala. TPQC is a non-profit that serves those affected by HIV/AIDS in the Quad Cities area. From the Facebook event:

Electricity now included! Due to an unexpected power outage, we rescheduled the main portion of this year’s Red Ribbon Gala.

Truvada pills

CDC director heckled at AIDSWatch conference over PrEP exclusivity, cost

ARLINGTON, Va. — CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield Monday was heckled on Tuesday after he tried to avoid answering questions about the exclusivity and cost of Truvada, currently the only drug used for PrEP.

The New York Daily News reported that the first round started 30 minutes into his speech with an activist calling out to “leave the affordable care act in place.” The room erupted in shouts again when Redfield said he couldn’t comment after Jesse Milan, Jr., CEO of AIDS United asked, “Will the CDC request a review of the CDC’s patents and Gilead’s production of Truvada as PrEP in order to obtain possible royalties from Gilead as resources to fund the HIV preventive portfolio and PrEP access?”

According to the Washington Post, one month of Truvada can cost between $1600 and $2000 a month. Gilead, the maker of Truvada, made $3 billion from the drug which was developed using federal funds. In fact, the Post reported that the federal government has the patent for Truvada, but has received no money. “We shut the director down because he kept calling people living with HIV infected and when asked about the PrEPissue he said that he had no comment about it,” said Aaron Matthew Laxton, a St.

Carbondale hosts Southern Illinois AIDS Walk

CARBONDALE — About 130 people took part in this past weekend’s annual Southern Illinois AIDS Walk in Carbondale. The walkers started at the Newman Catholic Student Center in Carbondale and walked for two miles. Wally Paynter said this year’s walk raised more than $6,000 and they were still counting. The money will be going to the Southern Illinois AIDS Coalition, which does HIV education throughout Southern Illinois and provides assistance to low income households impacted by HIV/AIDS. All photos courtesy of Stephen Lee Bear

Summit of Hope in Aurora on April 23

AURORA — Illinois HIV Care Connect will be holding a Summit of Hope expo on April 23 at Painters District Council No. 30. From the Facebook event:
The Summit of Hope is a community expo, bringing together local service providers to create a “one-stop” environment for invited parolees and probationers to obtain necessary assistance to move past barriers, which may prevent an individual from leading a successful life. The Summit of Hope is a proven Illinois Department of Corrections and Illinois Department of Public Health sanctioned program, independently organized in individual communities throughout the state. These events are helped tremendously by the participation and generosity of each hosting community.

2019 HATS Fundraiser on April 13

PEORIA — The annual HATS Fundraiser is returning to Peoria. From the Facebook event:
Join the University of Illinois College of Medicine’s LGBTQ+ Student Alliance in our annual HATS (HIV, AIDS, Treatment, and Support) Fundraiser! This fundraiser helps to support Positive Health Solutions (PHS). PHS is a local Peoria clinic that provides comprehensive care and services to those living with HIV/AIDS in not only Peoria but also 15 surrounding counties in central Illinois. The clinic provides exemplary medical care to over 600 clients while also applying a holistic approach in its case management and mental health services.