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Prescriptions for Privacy

Friends for Life gets full-time pharmacist.

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People living with HIV or AIDS are prescribed multiple medications with numerous side effects, but some may not be comfortable discussing their medicine at the pharmacy counter.

Thanks to a new partnership between Friends for Life and Schnucks, HIV/AIDS patients now have a more discreet way to pick up and talk about their medications. Schnucks pharmacist Erin Dempsey began working at the Friends for Life office in Midtown last week.

Dempsey will be on hand every weekday during Friends for Life's regular operating hours to dispense and provide consultation about medications with people living with HIV or AIDS.

"I'm not always comfortable barking out loud about all my medicine at the pharmacy counter, but I think it's even more uncomfortable for people living with HIV to do that. This provides them with some privacy and an opportunity to really converse with their pharmacist about their medications," said Kim Daugherty, executive director of Friends for Life.

No medication will be kept on-site at Friends for Life, but patients may choose to have their medicine delivered there. They may also make arrangements with Dempsey to have their medicine delivered to their home or at a Schnucks pharmacy.

Daugherty said pharmacist consultations are very important for people living with HIV/AIDS because they're often on very strict regimens of medication.

"When a person living with HIV misses a dose of their meds, they run a chance of developing a resistance to that medication," Daugherty said. "That means the medication doesn't work anymore to control the virus in the body. With HIV, there are only so many drugs that can help. Having the availability to work closely with your pharmacist is really important."

The on-site pharmacist will also counsel patients and deliver medications for other conditions.

Daugherty said Friends for Life is especially excited about partnering with Schnucks since the grocery store chain offers free antibiotics and a low-cost prescription program.

"Some other stores that offer discount programs require you to join a club," Daugherty said, "but you don't have to join one with Schnucks. For us, that was really important."

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