The Comprehensive AIDS Resource and Education (C.A.R.E.) Program at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, is a non-profit program that helps meet the medical and social needs of the HIV community throughout Los Angeles County.
C.A.R.E. was founded in 1986 by an innovative emergency room social worker, Jennifer Andrews, LCSW (pictured left), who during the early 1980s saw countless of AIDS patients come through the emergency room at St. Mary Medical Center. During those years, the AIDS incidence rate was unconscionably high, and individuals infected and affected by HIV disease had very limited resources and education about HIV care and services. With a generous grant from the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word and Ms. Andrew’s strategic foresight, the Comprehensive AIDS Resource and Education program was formed in order to comprehensively address the medical, social and mental health needs of those infected an affected by HIV disease. The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, continue to be strong supporters of the mission and services of the C.A.R.E. Program.
Since its inception, C.A.R.E. has become the “gold standard,” providing HIV specialty care and services to Los Angeles County residents who are infected and affected by HIV disease—regardless of their ability to pay. C.A.R.E. is a non-profit hospital-based HIV program that is directly funded by federal, state and county grants along with private donations. C.A.R.E. provides a full spectrum of services from treatment, support, and education for the newly diagnosed, to care for long-term survivors. HIV services include medical and dental care, an on-site pharmacy, case management, mental health and support groups, treatment education and peer support, clinical trials, a food pantry and on-site food bank, and supportive services such as help with benefits including AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) enrollment, and a Housing Opportunities for People with HIV/AIDS (HOPWA) enrollment site.