Nashville CARES began at a meeting held in August 1985 at the Life Styles Health Clinic. At that meeting, a group of men and women came together to discuss the appearance of AIDS in the Nashville gay community. Many of the participants had family and friends who were living with AIDS. Following the example of cities nationwide, they decided to form a group committed to providing education about the disease and support to those living with it. In October 1985, the group adopted the name “Council on AIDS, Resources, Education and Support” (CARES). That same month, Nashville CARES was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. AIDS has remained the exclusive focus of the organization since that time. In 2004, the board of directors formally changed CARES to mean “Community AIDS Resources, Education and Services” to recognize its origins and confirm its grassroots commitment.
Today more than 35,000 men and women receive education annually to help reduce their risk for HIV infection. Through group workshops and individual counseling Nashville CARES offers a comprehensive approach to HIV prevention, supporting decisions by young people to delay sexual behavior and giving sexually active individuals the skills to change risky behavior. Nashville CARES also provides HIV testing and screening, distributes education and prevention materials at fixed sites throughout the community, conducts workplace training, and consults on HIV issues.
Currently more than 3,000 men, women, and children who are living with HIV are receiving the support they need to live with independence and dignity and to make optimal use of HIV treatment. The individuals and families supported by direct services, like the HIV/AIDS epidemic itself, come from every community, in numbers which reflect the incidence of HIV/AIDS in those particular communities. CARES serves 17 counties of northern middle Tennessee, which account for about 90% of the reported prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the Middle Tennessee region. Staff are deployed throughout the region to bring services to individuals and families. Individuals with HIV/AIDS may receive services at the CARES office, through HIV medical clinics in Nashville or Springfield, or from the case managers assigned to work in specific counties (often in partnership with churches in those counties). By contract with the Tennessee Department of Health, CARES also manages a statewide program that provides assistance for health insurance continuation to more than 4,000 people with HIV/AIDS and their families.
For more information about the agency (including financial information), visit our listing at www.givingmatters.com.
Last fiscal year, Nashville CARES:
- Educated 2,300 teenagers and 10,100 young adults about HIV prevention
- Provided 101,900 meals to 1,570 people with HIV/AIDS
- Helped 1,200 clients find housing and address housing issues
- Provided 2,400 nights of emergency/transitional lodging
- Paid $563,800 in mortgage, rent and utility bills for 580 people with HIV/AIDS
- Educated 26,500 gay/bisexual men and 2,500 transgendered individuals about HIV
- Distributed 5,200 bus passes and gas vouchers to 840 people with HIV/AIDS
- Provided 270 hours of CARE Team help with household chores
- Educated 9,600 women to protect their health
- Paid for dental care for 1,500 people with HIV/AIDS
- Helped pay for medicine and medical care for 4,700 people with HIV/AIDS
- Provided 18,180 hours of planning & advocacy to help 2,560 people with HIV/AIDS find needed resources
- Tested nearly 11,700 individuals for HIV and linked the 50 people who tested positive to care and support
- Distributed 250,000 direct prevention materials
- Answered 13,300 calls to our HEARTLine for assistance
- Received 10,500 hours of volunteer service