NASHVILLE — Nashville CARES applauds the Office of Mayor Megan Barry and the Metro Nashville Public Health Department for observing World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 by convening a community summit to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in greater Nashville.
The summit, according to a press release, will include Mayor Megan Barry, the Metro Public Health Department, community leaders and stakeholders including the HIV, faith and academic communities in an effort to commit to ending the HIV epidemic in Nashville.
“With research confirming that treatment for HIV also prevents transmission of HIV, and with new medications now available to those at risk to prevent infection with HIV,” said CARES CEO Joseph Interrante, “we have the opportunity to make new HIV infections rare while helping those living with HIV/AIDS live long and healthy lives without any risk of transmitting the virus to loved ones.”
Recognizing these advances in knowledge about HIV and in the strategies to combat it, Nashville CARES changed its mission in 2014 to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Middle Tennessee.
Since that time, the agency has realigned its services and programs to help 90 percent of its clients successfully manage their HIV infection and to reduce new HIV infections by 50 percent by 2020. This has included the creation of My House, an integrated health and wellness center in partnership with Neighborhood Health and Street Works, development of a comprehensive program for PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) delivery and support, and IAMSTRONG support for people living with HIV/AIDS.
“Despite the scope of our work — and in fact as a result of it — we are reminded on a daily basis that a true end to the HIV epidemic requires a community-wide mobilization across public and private sectors both inside and outside the system of HIV prevention and care,” Interrante added. “The World AIDS Day summit is the first step on that road to create the conditions for an AIDS-free generation. We look forward to working with colleagues and partners in government, business, the faith community, and social services during and after the End the Epidemic summit to achieve that goal.”
According to the Tennessee Department of Health, more than 5,000 Middle Tennesseans are known to be living with HIV/AIDS. Nashville CARES serves approximately 55,000 Middle Tennesseans annually. CARES offers targeted prevention education, free and confidential HIV testing and support services for those at risk of or living with HIV. For additional information, visit NashvilleCARES.org.
About the summit
Ending the Epidemic summit will be held at the Cal Turner Center at Meharry Medical College where the more than 100 participants will learn about the advances in HIV treatment and prevention and will commit to working collectively to develop a plan to end the epidemic in Nashville for good.
About Nashville CARES
Nashville CARES is the premier HIV/AIDS organization in the region and provides comprehensive education, a broad range of targeted services and effective advocacy, in a highly personal, confidential and compassionate manner. CARES proactively and aggressively works to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Middle Tennessee. With your help, Nashville CARES offers services annually to 55,000 Middle Tennesseans infected and affected by HIV/AIDS including HIV prevention education to more than 35,000 youth and adults, almost 16,000 FREE confidential HIV tests, and essential support services to 3,000 men, women and children living with the disease. To learn more, visit us o at NashvilleCARES.org and on Facebook at Facebook.com/NashCARES.