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East TN nonprofit named a state 'HIV/AIDS Center of Excellence'

The Positively Living and Choice Health Network was named a center of excellence by the Tennessee Department of Health.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — An East Tennessee nonprofit that was started to help care for people living with HIV or AIDS earned statewide recognition on Thursday.

The Positively Living and Choice Health Network was named an HIV/AIDS Center of Excellence by the Tennessee Department of Health. According to a release from the nonprofit, more than 90% of their clients have HIV and are virally suppressed.

The nonprofit makes sure patients can access services for their physical and psychological needs, helping them address every stage of an illness. It also offers additional services like food and transportation assistance to low-income Tennesseans with HIV/AIDS.

“Since Positively Living started serving HIV/AIDS patients in 1996, we have implemented a holistic approach that meets the challenges of not only the disease but also the barriers to well-being,” said Steve Jenkins, the nonprofit's CEO. “This merit affirms our efforts and assures clients that they will receive optimal care.”

The Knox County Health Department is the only other center of excellence in the area.

The designation is meant to acknowledge centers that provide excellent HIV and AIDS treatment services, and to help direct people with HIV/AIDS to experienced providers. To get the designation, Positively Living had to pass an audit by the state and get a recommendation from the Center of Excellence Advisory Committee.

The release said they serve more than 6,000 people and families because of difficulties caused by HIV, homelessness, mental illness, substance use and LGBTQ discrimination. It has offices in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Memphis and Cookeville.

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