Nashville CARES Testing Program Wins Frist Award

Friday, September 30, 2011

Nashville CARES Testing Program Wins Frist Award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (September 30, 2011) – Nashville CARES’ Expanded HIV Screening Program was awarded the 2011 Frist Foundation Award of Achievement for Team Building at the annual Salute to Excellence Dinner on September 20, 2011.

The program places certified staff and medical/allied health student volunteers at hospital emergency departments and community health clinics to provide expanded HIV counseling and testing to patients during their visits for other, routine health care needs.  Combining student volunteers with paid staff significantly expands program capacity and reduces unit costs while giving these medical/allied health students unique hands-on experience in direct patient counseling.   The screening process also provides education about HIV and helps to reduce HIV-related stigma by “normalizing” the process of HIV testing.

The program operates in three of the region’s busiest ER centers (at Baptist, Metro General and Vanderbilt Hospitals) and its largest stand-alone clinic at Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center sites in both Nashville and Clarksville.  Collaborating with these medical providers focuses the program on low-income and uninsured populations shown to be at increased risk for HIV due to historical lack of access to preventive HIV services.

“Research conclusively shows that finding individuals who are infected with HIV through broad-based screening and linking them into care and support carries individual and public health benefits,” says Chief Program Officer Patrick Luther:  “It reduces new HIV infections and it helps people with HIV live longer, healthier lives.  And it is helping to train a new generation of medical providers sensitive to HIV/AIDS.”

“We are honored to have our work recognized,” adds CEO Joseph Interrante. “It shows how CARES continues to stay at the cutting edge of efforts to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS.”

About Nashville CARES: Nashville CARES is Tennessee’s largest HIV/AIDS organization. Each year, CARES educates 50,000 adults and youth to prevent new HIV infections, provides 12,000 HIV tests, and offers comprehensive support to 2,400 men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS.  All services are available without charge throughout 17 Middle Tennessee counties.