You’re not alone if you feel anxiety about an HIV test. But we’re here to help with FREE HIV testing by friendly, knowledgeable staff in a confidential and safe environment. A tiny amount of blood from a finger-poke is all we need to give you results in 20 minutes.
In our Benton Harbor office, HIV testing hours are from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm every Wednesday. No appointment is necessary. You can also schedule appointments as needed. Contact Erwin at (269) 210-7569 or EWillhite@CARESswm.org for more info.
At our Kalamazoo location, walk-in hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, and also by appointment by calling our Prevention Department at (269) 381-7561. After hours appointments are available as well.
Free condoms and lube are available at both offices at the front desk Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.
PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a newer HIV prevention approach where HIV-negative individuals use medications to greatly reduce their risk of becoming infected if exposed to HIV. It is a great option for people to consider that prevents HIV. Our team can answer your questions, connect you with local PrEP doctors, help you with insurance coverage, and more.
PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) is for someone recently exposed to HIV. PEP is intended for urgent situations and must be started within 72 hours after a possible exposure to HIV. If you think you’ve recently been exposed to HIV during sex or through sharing needles or if you’ve been sexually assaulted, talk to your health care provider or an emergency room doctor about PEP right away. CARES can help guide you through this process.
Schedule an appointment with our PrEP/PEP Navigator Alonzo AJulian@CARESswm.org or (269) 381-7561. After hours appointments are also available.
Mpowerment SW MI Program
Are you a young gay/bi/queer man who wants to get involved? Do you like to plan events? Would you enjoy making a difference in our community? Mpowerment is a social group of young gay/bisexual men ages 18-30 that meets a few times per month. This CARES program helps young gay/bisexual men create a healthier community for themselves and their friends. Fun social events take place throughout the year.
Our events take place all over Southwest Michigan. Most meetings are held in our Kalamazoo location. Contact Cory at CThompson@CARESswm.org or (269) 210-7566 for more information.
Managing the complexity of HIV can be difficult. The virus can lead to numerous health problems that prevent you from receiving proper care.
Our staff members are trained experts at helping people navigate the waters of HIV. From prescription “do’s and don’ts” to receiving treatment without insurance – we can help you get the best service from medical practitioners with straight, unbiased information delivered with compassion.
Additional services include life and budget planning, emergency financial assistance, finding housing, transportation for medical appointments and more.
CARES hosts a support group out of the Kalamazoo office. Contact Levi at LBerkshire@CARESswm.org or (269) 210-7574 for more information. The Benton Harbor location also has support groups as needed.
Telling people your HIV status can be challenging. People living HIV often express anxiety about disclosing to family, friends, or potential partners. We are pleased to offer a three-session workshop called “Healthy Relationships.” Each class is unique and offers a safe, supportive environment to discuss living with HIV. We offer these sessions at both offices throughout the year. Contact Erwin at EWillhite@CARESswm.org or (269) 210-7569 for more information.
Tobacco Cessation Program
CARES is thrilled to be a partner in the Tobacco Use Reduction in People Living With HIV (PLWH) program through MDHHS. We are proud to have 2 staff members who are each RN’s and Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialists. Love Chambers and Tanya Greenman are dedicated to helping PLWH quit/reduce their tobacco use with innovative and proven methods all delivered in a judgement-free, no pressure space.
Tanya and Love’s program recognizes that a safe and supportive environment where PLWH are empowered to give up cigarettes on their own terms is the most successful. For those not ready to quit altogether, experts recommend reducing the amount and frequency of smoking and our staff are here to offer support as well as concrete actions to choose from so the plan is as individualized as each person.
We provide this in a variety of ways; with monthly support group meetings in each of CARES locations where we learn and practice a new healthy living skill each time. There is also a monthly educational meeting in both our Benton Harbor and Kalamazoo offices where the focus is on treatment options. We also meet one-on-one to discuss an individual’s goals for quitting/reducing tobacco use. The conversation focuses on each person’s reasons for wanting to quit, their past quit attempts, triggers, coping skills, information about Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and other quit smoking medications.
OPS works to end homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth ages 13-24 years old. Working closely with a coalition of local youth serving organizations, OPS provides case management services for homeless individuals and identifies key community resources for LGBTQ youth, families, and service providers.
This program also offers cultural competency training to educate organizations on LGBTQ youth and increase competence in discussing sexual orientation and gender identity with youth.