The Role of Pharmacies in the HIV Prevention and Care Continuums: A Systematic Review

AIDS Behav. 2021 Jun;25(6):1819-1828. doi: 10.1007/s10461-020-03111-w. Epub 2021 Jan 2.


The role of pharmacists in the treatment of HIV has expanded beyond medication dispensing to include a host of cost-effective, evidence-based strategies across the HIV prevention and care continuums. However, wide-scale adoption of pharmacy-based HIV prevention and treatment interventions has been slow. We conducted a systematic review to evaluate the evidence on the role of pharmacists across the HIV prevention and care continuums. Thirty-two studies were identified, most of which provided evidence of feasibility of HIV testing and efficacy of non-prescription syringe sale services in pharmacies. However, only two studies implemented an experimental design to rigorously test pharmacy-based strategies. Notably, no pharmacy-based strategies have specifically targeted the highest HIV risk populations such as black and Latinx men who have sex with men, women, or trans populations. Efficacy trials and effectiveness studies should rigorously test existing pharmacy-based strategies to build greater support for wide-scale adoption and implementation. Moreover, in order to integrate pharmacies into the strategy to end the HIV epidemic, studies are needed to ensure that pharmacy-based HIV prevention and treatment services can reach the highest risk populations.

Keywords: HIV continuum; HIV prevention; HIV treatment; Pharmacies; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Continuity of Patient Care
  • Female
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections* / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections* / prevention & control
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pharmacies*
  • Pharmacists
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities*