Walmart continues to evolve in how it treats marginalized employees and customers — the nation's largest retailer recently announced a partnership with the Elton John AIDS Foundation to expand awareness on HIV treatment and prevention options.
Last year, Walmart released their first three Specialty Pharmacies of the Community (SPOCs), which feature “HIV-trained pharmacists, enhanced care coordination, healthy lifestyle recommendations and emotional support services from our Community Health Workers,” according to the company. To double down on these efforts, the company is also launching four new HIV-focused SPOCs that will feature pharmacy professionals and staff trained with the guidance of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The four new SPOCs are slated to open in North Brunswick and North Bergen, N.J., Monticello, N.Y., and Hartford, Conn.
All of Walmart’s pharmacists and Walmart Health Team members will have access to the HIV Prevention and Treatment Continuing Education (CE) Pharmacist Provider Training Program. Designed by Duke University, the program will equip team members to help patients overcome stigma and social barriers.
The first training module was beta tested by a select group of pharmacists at the four new SPOC locations, as well as the entire Walmart Health Community Health Workers.
Walmart pharmacists are also granted permission for prescribing PrEP and PEP therapies (preventative HIV treatment). This decision came alongside reports showing patients see their pharmacists nearly 12 times more than their primary care providers. That said, only 13 states currently allow the pharmacists to provide these authorizations, including California, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah.
As HIV prevention and treatment furthers, Walmart “remains committed to offering the highest quality care to our customers and patients, right in their communities.”