Chattanooga Council on AIDS Resources, Education, and Support (CARES) strives to reach, assist, and support people impacted by HIV through compassionate and responsive delivery of education, health, social, and advocacy related services. Chattanooga CARES serves all people infected with and affected by HIV in Southeast Tennessee.
CARES was organized in 1986, and in 1988, CARES received 501(c)3 non-profit status. From 1988 until 2002, CARES focused on social service advocacy, care and assistance for those infected by HIV and conducted extensive testing and education outreach. In 2002, CARES opened the Chattanooga Primary Care Clinic (CPCC) and began offering medical treatment and services. In 2013, CARES moved to its current location in the medical hub of Chattanooga. CARES expanded its client services staff to include two transportation coordinators and a certified nutrition specialist, and the CARES market, a satellite location of the food bank at the CARE offices, opened in 2015.
Expansion of CARES’ testing capabilities and services to include testing for Hepatitis C and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) coupled with their mobile testing unit perhaps best represents the innovative advancement of their mission. Did you know that if someone tests positive for an STI, s/he is five times more likely to contract HIV? CARES’ expanded testing enables the organization to educate, empower and protect more people, and their mobile testing unit enables them to do so wherever they are located in the Chattanooga service area.
The area of greatest need for CARES’ clients is increased access to educational resources, job training and skills instruction. Chattanooga CARES hopes to find support and resources to initiate and integrate precisely these types of services for our clients.
Plans for the Future
Chattanooga CARES is beginning its 30th year of service in the Tennessee Valley this year. In this year, they will host their 20th Annual Strides of March 5K fundraising walk. We also plan to implement nutritional assessment and counseling for all clients who utilize the CARES Market, their food bank.