“The only gay people that I would ever see were on television in cities like New York City and San Francisco and Miami, and I thought, well that must be where all the gay people are,” he says. “I thought I was the only gay person in South Carolina.”
Fast-forward to Webster attending pharmacy school in South Carolina at the height of the HIV epidemic.
“I knew about HIV, but I still kind of felt like it didn’t affect me because I didn’t live in one of those big cities,” he says. “Then one of my classmates contracted HIV and died within six months of his diagnosis. That really brought it home for me because he was me. He was another white boy pharmacy student living in South Carolina.”
As a registered pharmacist, Webster has dedicated much of his career to helping communities impacted by HIV. He has spent the past 11 years working at a community-based Walgreens in Atlanta which serves about 2,000 people living with HIV.
“It’s a blessing to be able to help so many people, just by going to work each day,” Webster says.
Walgreens has supported those with HIV since the epidemic began, and recently announced a new way to help patients: free, Same Day Rx Delivery of HIV medication.
In partnership with Uber and DoorDash, Walgreens is offering this service as part of its commitment to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which seeks to end the HIV epidemic in the United States by 2030.
Webster says the free delivery of HIV medications will be helpful for some of his patients, and for continuing the work of reaching people with HIV in underserved communities.
“In any situation where you can remove a barrier for people, that’s a great thing,” he says. “We want to give everyone the same opportunity for healthcare."
Webster says the free delivery service will be especially helpful to those who live in rural areas, or for people who are working more than one job that can’t get to a pharmacy before closing time.
Walgreens offers clinical support for people living with HIV at thousands of its participating retail pharmacies, and Webster adds that specialty pharmacies like his are truly a resource for patients needing information about prevention and treatment, financial assistance options or connection to HIV service organizations.
And most importantly, it’s a safe and confidential space for people with HIV to get support.
“We’re there as a great resource for everybody,” Webster says.
To learn more about HIV prevention, testing and care, visit Walgreens.com/HIV.