Local and Community News
Tennessee: Center Enhances Care for HIV/AIDS Patients
May 9, 2003
Chattanooga's only comprehensive health care center for people living with HIV/AIDS is expanding its services, said officials. Susan B. Holmes, vice president of the Chattanooga Primary CARES Center, said the North Chattanooga facility opened in December to make health care services more accessible to HIV/AIDS patients. The hiring of an infectious disease specialist this week complements the primary health care services now available, said Holmes.Adapted from:
In addition to primary health services currently offered by the clinic, CARES plans to offer podiatry, infectious disease and substance abuse services by the end of June, said Ardyce Ridolfo, clinic coordinator. Ridolfo added that the center also offers emergency rent and utility assistance, community services and prevention education. The clinic will continue to refer patients to other doctors for specialty care and surgeries.
The centralization of care services alleviates HIV/AIDS patients from having to travel all over Chattanooga and sometimes out of the city for medical care. Before CARES opened, "You had to go one place to see the doctor, then another to get your lab work done and another to get your medicine. You are running all over town six to eight times a week. Now you don't have to do that," said Larry Higgins, one of 85 patients treated at the center since it opened. The closest other comprehensive clinics are in Knoxville and Nashville.
Ridolfo said the goal of the clinic is not to take patients away from other care providers, but rather to make needed services convenient. While some patients may prefer to use other providers to maintain confidentiality, they now have the choice to stay in their own community, noted Ridolfo.
Chattanooga Times Free Press
05.07.03; Yolanda Putman
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.