According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1.2 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV and for the first time, half of those will be 50 years old or older this year. Left unaddressed, older adults living with HIV may lack the support needed to help manage medications for HIV and other chronic conditions that are commonly associated with aging. Recognizing the unique care and support needed, Walgreens launched Well Beyond HIV to provide information and resources for those living with HIV and to help inspire dialogue, eradicate stigmas and amplify the voices, faces and stories of those over 50 living with HIV.
“As the population of older Americans living with HIV/AIDS grows, the daily realities, concerns and successes of their lives remain largely unrecognized,” says Glen Pietrandoni, senior director of virology, Walgreens. “By sharing stories of challenges and triumphs through the compelling photography and insightful testimonials, we hope to increase awareness of the unique needs of these individuals while being a trusted community resource to help those aging with HIV live well.”
“The public conversation on both aging and HIV generally leaves out the complex experiences of older adults living with the virus,” said Katja Heinemann, co-director of The Graying of AIDS. “Through this campaign, we hope to inspire people living and aging with HIV to achieve an improved quality of life.”
Individuals featured in the campaign share real stories of diagnosis challenges and life triumphs.
“I always thought I had two years to live. And after two years, there was another two years. And after that, another two years, until I realized that I was getting healthier,” said Michael Kasten, a campaign participant. “Then there wasn’t any more two years - it was more like 10 or 15 years. For me, HIV sits in the background. I accept it, but because I manage it, it doesn’t control me.”
The exhibit unveiling will be on Saturday, Jan. 17, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Miami Beach Edition Hotel in Miami. Well Beyond HIV art exhibit is open to the public on Sunday, Jan. 18, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Additional stories, exhibit information and resources are available at WellBeyondHIV.com.
Walgreens is committed to supporting those living with HIV. Through more than 800 Walgreens HIV-specialized pharmacies throughout the country, more than 2,000 specially trained pharmacists provide confidential, face-to-face medication therapy consultations and health and wellness guidance to help patients manage HIV, common comorbid conditions such as hepatitis C and other conditions generally associated with aging. For more information on Walgreens HIV-specialized pharmacies, visit HIV.Walgreens.com.
Walgreens (www.walgreens.com), the nation's largest drugstore chain, constitutes the Retail Pharmacy USA Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. More than 8 million customers interact with Walgreens each day in communities across America, using the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice. Walgreens operates 8,229 drugstores with a presence in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Walgreens digital business includes Walgreens.com, drugstore.com, Beauty.com, SkinStore.com and VisionDirect.com. Walgreens also manages more than 400 Healthcare Clinic and provider practice locations around the country.