HIV/AIDS Awareness Month Highlights Opportunities for Pharmacy

Pharmacy TimesDecember 2023
Volume 89
Issue 12

As HIV has become a manageable chronic condition, and even curable in some cases, the role of pharmacists cannot be understated.

Pharmacists have been key in educating the public about prevention efforts as well as reaching underserved populations at the greatest risk for HIV.1

Image credit: Jacob Lund |

Image credit: Jacob Lund |

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake is a major challenge, despite its shown efficacy. Key factors influencing PrEP uptake include perceptions of risk, stigma among the public and health care professionals, fear of adverse effects, cost, and lack of information.2 Pharmacists can proactively talk with patients about PrEP, providing accurate information and leveraging their identities as trusted health care professionals within the community.

Many of the challenges in HIV are united by the need for more information and education, both among patients and providers. Pharmacists are perfectly positioned to be the information providers, with opportunities for this even in the smallest interactions. Simply asking about a patient’s adherence or encouraging patients to know their HIV status can make an incredible difference.

Of course, pharmacists advise patients on countless topics. In this issue, some of those educational opportunities include respiratory viruses, supplements for cardiovascular health, and skin conditions.

Educating patients and combating misinformation about vaccines has been a major area of focus over the past few years. Although COVID-19 and influenza vaccines are front of mind, pneumococcal vaccination can be just as important for older adults and others at heightened risk. In this month’s Rx Focus article by Jeannette Y. Wick, MBA, RPh, FASCP, learn more about how to overcome common barriers to pneumococcal vaccines.

This month’s feature article, written by Associate Editor Ashley Gallagher, also tackles vaccines. With celebrities endorsing immunizations and appearing in pharmaceutical companies’ ads, questions have arisen about whether these endorsements lead to increased uptake. Although these endorsements can lead viewers to select one vaccine over another, experts say they’re unlikely to change the minds of those who are staunchly against vaccinations.

For more on these topics as well as podcasts and videos, check out

Happy holidays, and as always, thank you for reading.

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