US pharmacies to offer free HIV tests

A number of pharmacies in the US are offering free HIV tests in a bid to help combat spread of the disease.

Walgreen Co is just one of several drugstores taking part in the two-year pilot programme that aims to give quick and easy appointments for those wishing to take part, Reuters reports.

It is hoped the scheme will make attempts to diagnose the virus - the spread of which can be tackled with the help of condoms - more convenient, while also offering greater accessibility for Americans.

Pharmacists and nurse practitioners will use a nationwide model developed through the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initiative to help detect the virus.

Jonathan Mermin, director of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at CDC, said the aim of the project is to make testing for HIV as easy and commonplace as checking blood pressure.

Mr Mermin stated: "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."