Would you be more prone to get tested for HIV if you could just walk into your local Walgreens?

Well that’s the hope of practitioners like Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. He is working with local drugstores to make rapid HIV testing available easily.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is testing a pilot program that will aid pharmacists and nurse practitioners in detecting the virus sooner making HIV testing easier for Americans nationwide.

“Our goal is to make HIV testing as routine as a blood pressure check,” says Mermin. “This initiative is one example of how we can make testing routine and help identify the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are unaware that they are infected.”

Walgreens is the initial test site of this program. Now in certain locations in Washington, D.C., Chicago, and in a clinic in Lithonia, Georgia – people will be able to go in and get tested. The CDC plans to extend their coverage to more stores later this year.

Yet, can HIV test really be compared to blood pressure tests?

Bioethicist Art Caplan, director of the Medical Ethics division at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, argues ‘no.’

“Unlike glucose monitoring or blood pressure, a positive HIV test is something that requires adequate counseling and support. Moreover a positive or negative test needs to be accompanied by a reminder about the importance of safe sex and the need to disclose any positive result to your doctor for following up testing and further counseling.”

What do you think? Would you get tested in a drugstore?


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