Walmart and the Elton John AIDS Foundation are joining forces with Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition (AHRC) and AIDS Healthcare Foundation to provide free HIV testing along with education materials and resources during three parking lot events around the Atlanta area. The events are in recognition of Southern HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (SHAAD), Aug. 20, and will focus on expanding access to testing in local communities, a vital first step at effective prevention and treatment for people living with the disease.
The mobile-unit parking-lot events are taking place at the following locations and times:
- 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Walmart Supercenter, 1801 Howell Mill Rd. NW., Atlanta
- 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Walmart Supercenter, 835 Martin Luther King Jr. NW, Atlanta
- 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Walmart Supercenter, 6149 Old National Hwy., College Park, Ga.
The one-day events will feature testing and information in a safe and supportive setting. Additionally, there will be experienced professionals on hand to offer counseling for additional resources and care, which will ultimately help lead to better health outcomes for people living with HIV.
There are currently 250,000 people in the U.S. southern region who are living with HIV but lack access to treatment, indicating an urgent need for HIV testing, linkage to treatment, education and resources in the area. In 2018, the highest rates of new HIV diagnosis were in the South and 70% of people living with HIV in Georgia are in the Atlanta area.
Further compounding the health crisis, the AIDS epidemic disproportionately impacts communities of color, especially in the South, where people are more likely to be diagnosed with HIV over the course of their lifetime than Americans living in other parts of the country. The epidemic also has a significant impact on the LGBTQ+ population, with half of Black gay men and a quarter of Latino gay men projected to be diagnosed with HIV within their lifetime in America.
Dr Morgan Zare, Executive Director of AHRC says, “As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, we must not forget the ongoing HIV epidemic that exists in our country. While COVID-19 continues to take and disrupt the lives of Americans and Georgians, at AHRC we are also seeing a rise in the rate of newly diagnosed HIV. Over time we have learned that collaboration is the key to addressing HIV.”
Our collaboration with Elton John AIDS Foundation and Walmart, which has led to identification and treatment of newly and previously diagnosed people living with HIV/AIDS, is a prime example of how collaboration can help end this epidemic. We are proud to stand in the fight.
“As our community continues to navigate the on-going challenges around COVID-19, we are still seeing an increase in new cases of individuals testing positive for HIV. Working with partners like Walmart and Elton John AIDS Foundation ensures that we are able to meet consumers where they are and continue to provide access to free, rapid, confidential HIV testing. Working together, we can shift the trajectory, get more folks aware of their status and if needed, get them linked to care,” stated Imara Canady, AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
“Walmart and Walmart Health are proud to partner with the Elton John AIDS Foundation and be able to provide continuous events for free testing to members of the greater Atlanta community,” said Nirmal Patel, Senior Continuous Improvement Leader, Walmart Health & Wellness.”
We are committed to helping our customers live better, healthier lives by making affordable healthcare accessible to members of the Atlanta community. These free testing events allow us the opportunity to reach an even broader range of customers who have the greatest need in the area.
Walmart and the Elton John AIDS Foundation are united in a mission to increase access to HIV testing and resources and are committed to working towards a future free from AIDS.
Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, approximately 220 million customers and members visit approximately 10,500 stores and clubs under 48 banners in 24 countries and eCommerce websites. With fiscal year 2021 revenue of $559 billion, Walmart employs 2.2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting https://corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.
About Elton John AIDS Foundation
The Elton John AIDS Foundation was established in 1992 and is one of the leading independent AIDS organisations in the world. The Foundation’s mission is simple: an end to the AIDS epidemic. The Elton John AIDS Foundation is committed to overcome the stigma, discrimination and neglect that keeps us from ending AIDS. With the mobilisation of our network of generous supporters and partners, we fund local experts across four continents to challenge discrimination, prevent infections and provide treatment as well as influencing governments to end AIDS. www.eltonjohnaidsfoundation.org.